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Rumsfeld Confirms US Forces are Using 'Bunker Buster' Bombs - 2001-10-12

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says ongoing U.S. airstrikes continue to target leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network and the Taleban government that is harboring them in Afghanistan.

Even as the airstrikes continue, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was asked by reporters if he thought suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is still in Afghanistan. "I am interested in a problem of terrorists and terrorist networks and countries that harbor them all across the globe," he answered. "And if he were gone tomorrow, the al-Qaida network would continue functioning essentially as it does today. He is certainly a problem. He is not the problem."

Mr. Rumsfeld also confirmed that U.S. forces are using so-called "bunker buster" bombs in their airstrikes, large, powerful bombs that can penetrate targets buried deep below ground. "I don't look at all the photography, but I have seen several examples where there were enormous secondary explosions that in some cases went on for several hours after targeting underground facilities," he said.

Pentagon officials also showed videotape of some of the attacks on Taleban military targets in Afghanistan including hits on a radio station and a surface to air missile launch site.

Major General Henry Osman said military officials are satisfied with the airstrikes so far and says there are indications that the attacks have disrupted the al-Qaida terrorist network. He said Wednesday's targets included Taleban troops and antiaircraft sites.