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Powell: al-Qaida, Taliban Remnants Could Be Behind Karzai Assassination Attempt - 2002-09-06


Secretary of State Colin Powell says Thursday's attempted assassination of Afghan President Hamid Karzai shows that the international community still needs to do more to improve security in the country. He made the comments in Gabon Thursday, during the first visit by an American secretary of state to that central African nation ever.

Secretary Powell emerged from a late night dinner with Gabonese President Omar Bongo condemning the assassination attempt on the Afghan leader and suggesting to reporters it may have been the work of either al-Qaida or remnants of the Taleban, which was ousted from power last November.

"We knew that it would take a long time to get rid of these terrorist elements, to defeat al-Qaida and the Taleban and that's why we remain engaged and we are supporting [the peace keeping force] in its efforts," he said. " But certainly I don't think anyone has claimed that the countryside or any of the cites was perfectly safe yet."

He said efforts by terrorists to go after legitimate governments will only reinforce the U.S. commitment to the campaign against terrorism.

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