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US Military: Bin Laden is On the Run - 2001-11-21


America's top general says Osama bin Laden is on the run and the United States is having trouble pinpointing his whereabouts but Washington will pursue him wherever he goes. General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Osama bin Laden's death or capture will not stop the war in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he briefed allied military commanders on the war against terrorists, General Myers says the United States has so far not been able to locate Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

But the general says his forces are making it difficult for Osama bin Laden to carry out further terrorist attacks. "It is difficult to get an accurate position on bin Laden. We work that very hard. We think we continue to narrow the locations down, and, whether we get him in the end, I don't know. We know we're making it very hard for him to plan future terrorist operations because he has kept pretty much on the run," he said.

Osama bin Laden may be holed up in a mountain cave in southeastern Afghanistan, the only part of the country that is still controlled by his protectors, the Taleban militia. But General Myers has said he thinks the Saudi-born Islamic militant is constantly on the move.

"He doesn't spend more than one night in one place, we don't think. And so he's kept on the run. We may even have to face the fact that he may leave Afghanistan at some point. If he does, we are going to have to follow him to wherever he goes," he said.

But General Myers says the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan will not be over until the entire leadership of the Al-Qaida network has been brought to justice and the Taleban smashed.

"This is not looking for one individual. If bin Laden were to show up today, or be pronounced dead or in captivity today, that would not end this particular part of the war," he said.

General Myers has said the U.S. goal in Afghanistan is to ensure that any future government there neither helps nor harbors terrorists.

The Air Force general also says he hopes NATO will take on a role in the distribution of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and relieve the United States of its responsibility in that area.

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