Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says U.S. forces have made good progress in the war on terrorism, one year after the start of combat operations in Afghanistan. But, Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledges that war is far from over.
It was one year ago that U.S. forces launched air-strikes against Taleban and al-Qaida targets in Afghanistan, retaliating for the bloody September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Mr. Rumsfeld says, in the weeks and months since then, good progress has been made in the war on terrorism. But he tells reporters at the Pentagon that, beyond Afghanistan, the terrorist threat remains.
"Today, Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists. But, there's no question, but that free nations are still under threat," he said.
Mr. Rumsfeld says the threat is posed by terrorists around the world, some of whom, he says, are seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. "Thousands of terrorists remain at large in dozens of countries. They're seeking weapons of mass destruction that would allow them to kill, not only thousands, but tens-of-thousands of innocent people."
Mr. Rumsfeld says, despite the threat, American resolve remains firm to deal with terrorism and prevent a possible disaster far worse than September 11.
"Our objective in the global war on terror is to prevent another September 11, before an attack that is far worse, before it happens," he said.
Mr. Rumsfeld made no direct mention of Iraq as a potential target in the war on terrorism during his opening statement on the first anniversary of the start of the military's Operation Enduring Freedom.
However in response to reporters' questions, he said President Bush has made no decision with regard to military action against Baghdad.