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Rumsfeld Congratulates Pakistan for Capturing al-Qaida Escapees - 2001-12-20

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is praising Pakistani authorities for rounding up hundreds of suspected al-Qaida escapees from Afghanistan.

Mr. Rumsfeld makes no reference to a bloody gun battle between Pakistani soldiers and al-Qaida prisoners detained along the Afghan border.

But Mr. Rumsfeld says Pakistani forces have captured hundreds of people and he says U.S. officials are hopeful their interrogations will yield important information about terrorist plans. "Clearly," he said, "we will be deeply involved in interrogation and intelligence-gathering because it should be a treasure trove."

Mr. Rumsfeld says U.S. and Afghan forces are meanwhile continuing their search for al-Qaida fighters inside Afghanistan. He says there are still pockets of resistance, and he acknowledges al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has still not been found.