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Rumsfeld: All Goals Not Met in Afghan Campaign - 2002-04-09


Six months into the war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is acknowledging the military operation to rout out terrorism has not met all of its goals, including the capture of Osama bin Laden. But he says he is satisfied with progress made in routing the bin Laden terrorist network.

President Bush emphatically declared at the start of the Afghan war last October he wanted to see Osama bin Laden captured dead or alive. But six months later, he and ousted Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar have yet to be found.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters Monday he doesn't think this should be seen at this stage at least, as a setback. "We're having good success. Some of the Nazi war criminals were not caught for years afterward -- years," he says. "They were found in South America. So does that mean that we didn't win World War Two? No."

And he believes the fact that no new videotapes from Osama bin Laden have surfaced lately suggests the al-Qaida leader is under pressure, probably moving from place to place just trying to survive. "That is not your preferred outcome, but it is a better outcome than nothing," he says. "If you put enough pressure to make their lives more difficult you have indeed accomplished something it seems to me."

Pentagon officials say over the past six months the war against terrorism has also thwarted terrorist attacks around the world, including Singapore, Italy and the Balkans. And, even though Afghanistan's Taleban rulers have been routed and the terrorist infrastructure dimantled, the U.S.-led military coalition will not be packing up any time soon.

On the same day that the country's defense minister was the target of an apparent assassination attempt, Secretary Rumsfeld said Afghanistan is never likely to be as stable as countries in Europe or the United States. But he says at least the situation now is better than it was six months ago.

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