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07 October 2001

Text: President Bush Announces Military Strikes in Afghanistan

(Targets are terrorist camps and Taliban military installations)
President Bush announced October 7 that the U.S. military has launched
strikes against al Qaeda terrorist camps and Taliban military
installations in Afghanistan.
"We are joined in this operation," the president said, "by our staunch
friend, Great Britain. Other close friends, including Canada,
Australia, Germany and France, have pledged forces as the operation
unfolds. More than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and
across Asia have granted air transit or landing rights. Many more have
shared intelligence."
Following is the text of the president's statement:
(begin text)
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
October 7, 2001
Statement by the President
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. On my orders, the United States
military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps
and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. These
carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of
Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the
military capability of the Taliban regime.
We are joined in this operation by our staunch friend, Great Britain.
Other close friends, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France,
have pledged forces as the operation unfolds. More than 40 countries
in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and across Asia have granted air
transit or landing rights. Many more have shared intelligence. We are
supported by the collective will of the world.
More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and
specific demands: Close terrorist training camps; hand over leaders of
the al Qaeda network; and return all foreign nationals, including
American citizens, unjustly detained in your country. None of these
demands were met. And now the Taliban will pay a price. By destroying
camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult
for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil
Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other
entrenched hiding places. Our military action is also designed to
clear the way for sustained, comprehensive and relentless operations
to drive them out and bring them to justice.
At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the
generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets,
we'll also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and
suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan.
The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we
are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic
faith. The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid
terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion
by committing murder in its name.
This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism,
another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy,
intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of
known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries. Given the
nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the
patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges
with determination and will and purpose.
Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation
has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If
any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they
have become outlaws and murderers, themselves. And they will take that
lonely path at their own peril.
I'm speaking to you today from the Treaty Room of the White House, a
place where American Presidents have worked for peace. We're a
peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so
tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the
face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue
those who threaten it.
We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it. The name of
today's military operation is Enduring Freedom. We defend not only our
precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live
and raise their children free from fear.
I know many Americans feel fear today. And our government is taking
strong precautions. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies are
working aggressively around America, around the world and around the
clock. At my request, many governors have activated the National Guard
to strengthen airport security. We have called up Reserves to
reinforce our military capability and strengthen the protection of our
In the months ahead, our patience will be one of our strengths --
patience with the long waits that will result from tighter security;
patience and understanding that it will take time to achieve our
goals; patience in all the sacrifices that may come.
Today, those sacrifices are being made by members of our Armed Forces
who now defend us so far from home, and by their proud and worried
families. A Commander-in-Chief sends America's sons and daughters into
a battle in a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of
prayer. We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to
leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury,
even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.
They are dedicated, they are honorable; they represent the best of our
country. And we are grateful.
To all the men and women in our military -- every sailor, every
soldier, every airman, every coastguardsman, every Marine -- I say
this: Your mission is defined; your objectives are clear; your goal is
just. You have my full confidence, and you will have every tool you
need to carry out your duty.
I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state
of America in these difficult times -- a letter from a 4th-grade girl,
with a father in the military: "As much as I don't want my Dad to
fight," she wrote, "I'm willing to give him to you."
This is a precious gift, the greatest she could give. This young girl
knows what America is all about. Since September 11, an entire
generation of young Americans has gained new understanding of the
value of freedom, and its cost in duty and in sacrifice.
The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waver; we will
not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail. Peace and freedom
will prevail.
Thank you.  May God continue to bless America.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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