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US Still Hunting for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar - 2002-01-15


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says U.S. forces continue to hunt fugitive al-Qaida and Taleban leaders, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohamed Omar.

Mr. Rumsfeld says he has seen no new credible intelligence information on the whereabouts of the two men. But he said in a radio interview he remains confident they will be found. "We're looking. We have been looking and we intend to keep on looking, not just for those two individuals [Omar and bin Laden] but their senior associates and I expect we'll find all or most of them," he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld rejects suggestions that the Bush administration has somehow mishandled the hunt, perhaps by deploying too few soldiers in Afghanistan. He says he believes that would have been counter-productive, and probably would have only resulted in forcing Taleban and al-Qaida fugitives over the border more quickly. He also says the presence of more American troops might have stirred fears among the Afghan people that the U.S. military wanted to occupy their country.

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