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US Troops Will Capture Bin Laden, says General Myers - 2003-12-18

Top U.S. military officer General Richard Myers says if accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is still alive, U.S. troops will capture him as they did Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

General Myers says he feels confident U.S. forces will eventually catch up with the head of the al-Qaida network, blamed for the massive terror attack on the United States in 2001.

"If bin Laden is still alive, and I think most suspect he is, … he will be captured someday, just like we captured Saddam Hussein," he said.

General Myers made the remarks during a visit Thursday to Bagram Air Base, headquarters for U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan.

His visit, following a stop in Iraq earlier this week, is part of a morale-building tour, including an entourage of celebrities, such as actor Robin Williams, who performed a comedy routine for the troops.

General Myers also praised neighboring Pakistan for its role in the fight against al-Qaida.

"Pakistan has rounded up and arrested more al-Qaida than anybody else," said General Myers. "They have been very effective … from the beginning."

He cited recent Pakistani operations along its border with Afghanistan to flush out militants, including al-Qaida and insurgents using Pakistan as a base to conduct armed attacks inside Afghanistan.

Afghan officials say the majority of these insurgents are remnants of the country's former Taleban regime, overthrown by Afghan and U.S. forces two years ago.

General Myers said the Taleban is losing strength and is now conducting guerrilla attacks on Afghan and U.S. targets in smaller numbers than six months ago.

Sporadic attacks do continue, however. On Wednesday night, militants burned down a co-ed primary school in Kandahar province and killed a security guard.