Central Command Chief Pleased With Afghan Progress
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2002 - "Al Qaeda is on the run," said
Army Gen. Tommy Franks, the chief of U.S. Central Command
Franks, who held a "telenews conference" between the
Pentagon and Tampa, Fla., said he has been generally
pleased with the way operations in Afghanistan have gone to
Franks, who just returned to Tampa after visiting the
region, said service members' morale is "sky high." He said
American military is operating in what continues to be a
This danger was highlighted by the death of a Green Beret
during a firefight in the Gardez-Khost region in eastern
Afghanistan. He was the first American service member
killed by hostile fire since the operation began Oct. 7.
Franks reminded reporters that the mission of U.S. forces
in the country is to destroy terrorist networks inside
Afghanistan. "Progress has been made," he said. "The
Taliban . no longer controls Afghanistan, Al Qaeda cells
inside Afghanistan have in some cases been destroyed, in
other cases been disrupted, and, in fact, Al Qaeda is on
He pointed to the installation of the interim Afghan
government as another sign of success. He also noted the
effectiveness of the humanitarian relief efforts since the
Taliban is no longer impeding the United Nations and non-
governmental relief organization. The return of refugees
and "internally displaced persons" are hopeful signs for
the country, he added.
"I am indeed pleased with the progress that has been made
over the past 90 days," Franks said. "But I would also say
that much very dangerous work remains to be done."
The United States and coalition allies must root out
pockets of Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. "We're going to
continue to hunt down the leadership of these terror
networks and cells, both within Afghanistan and outside
Afghanistan," he said.
Franks said Central Command would continue to exploit the
terrorist training camps and compounds. He said U.S.
personnel have searched 40 of 48 "known" of these camps.
"We will continue to screen, process, interrogate several
thousand detainees," he said. "This will take time, for
sure. But then again, we have a patient nation, we have a
patient president and I am a patient CINC."
Franks said that as the operation progresses he may have to
change the troop mix and skill set as needed. More military
intelligence people, for example, may be needed to
interrogate detainees, or more forensic people may be
needed to identify the Al Qaeda and Taliban dead. At other
times, more special operations forces will be needed.
"You should not take this as an indication that we're going
to be dramatically adding to the number of Americans inside
Afghanistan," he said. "Each step of this campaign we have
tried to match the requirement of the mission against the
specific force we have on the ground."
Franks addressed rotation policies for U.S. units involved
in the campaign.
"A combatant command essentially has its own Army element,
it's own Air Force elements, Navy, special operations and
so forth," Franks said. "Each one of those services
establishes a rotation policy for their own people based on
discussions with us about the way we see the mission, the
way we see the criticality of certain people in certain
"I think you will see a rotation," he continued. "Some
services may rotate at the 90-day point and you may see
others rotate at the six-month point. That's the way we'll