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DoD News Briefing

(Marriott Waterside Hotel, Tampa, Florida)

 


Presenter: General Tommy Franks

Friday, January 18, 2002 Thursday, 1:30 pm EST

 

GEN. FRANKS: Good afternoon and welcome. I appreciate all of you coming to the press conference this afternoon.

We're in day 104 of Enduring Freedom today, and our focus remains as we speak on the exploitation of sites inside Afghanistan: complexes, caves, houses, bunkers, trenches, compounds. We're continuing the search for and detention of al Qaeda and Taliban targets, and we're continuing the development of intelligence aimed at disrupting terrorist activities. Our current detainee count stands, I think, at 317 as of this morning in Afghanistan, 110 in Guantanamo.

I thought what I'd do today is something that I hadn't done before, and that's talk a bit about some other aspects of Operation Enduring Freedom. And I want to start for a minute talking about humanitarian assistance, because there are, in fact, some very good-news stories there and, I think, something that we as Americans should be proud of.

So far this month, in January, we stand at about 11,000 metric tons of food having been delivered inside Afghanistan, against a monthly goal of about 45,000 metric tons. But it's interesting to note there that in December, we had 116,000 metric tons against that same requirement that we were able to get into Afghanistan.

We currently have all 11 of the major convoy routes open, and I think nine airfields are open inside Afghanistan to receive humanitarian supplies. We see that international organizations and non-governmental organizations are returning to Afghanistan in large numbers. I think 21 additional non-governmental organizations have gone back in in the past few weeks. We've also seen the reentry of United Nations international staff to Afghanistan.

An interesting thing, at least interesting to me, is the business of hospitals. And as many of you know, we have not had a very good or robust hospital capability inside Afghanistan, certainly during the time of the Taliban. Right now, one of our coalition partners, Jordan, has established a state-of-the-art hospital in Mazar-e Sharif with, I think, more than 20 surgeons and a full medical capability. As of today, they've treated more than 3,000 Afghan citizens since the 8th of January. And it occurs to me that it's appropriate to thank Jordan for that effort. I think also Spain and the Republic of Korea are preparing to send additional medical assets to the theater. Also interesting is the fact that the Russians have had a hospital open since the middle of December in Kabul, where they've treated more than 5,000 Afghan citizens.

Also interesting to me is the fact that we're seeing schools begin to reopen in Afghanistan. UNICEF and coalition support to this effort has been terrific. In one particular case, I've noticed that 80 female staff have returned to Kabul University, unheard of but a few months ago, and also that 200 females have registered for classes next semester. Refugees are returning. Thirty-five thousand refugees have returned to their homes in Afghanistan the past two weeks.

As we all know, mines are a tremendous problem inside Afghanistan, some 10 to 11 million mines in that country, perhaps one of the largest concentrations we see on the planet. As of today, 4,400 United Nations Afghan de-miners are operating in the country. We're providing mine awareness training and exposure to the people.

In terms of the International Security Assistance Force, headed by the United Kingdom, I think some 17 nations, of those, seven nations currently have forces inside Kabul. The forces are continuing to flow. I project that that force when it's full-up will be somewhere between 2500 and 5000 people, depending on the needs as they're described by the interim government in Afghanistan. In terms of that interim government, all of the leadership positions have been filled. And of the 30 required province governors or directors, 16 have been named up to this point.

So my point is that our mission in Afghanistan to eradicate al Qaeda and terrorist organizations with global reach is proceeding apace. I am satisfied with where that stands today, and I am more than satisfied with the work that's going on on the humanitarian assistance front as I just described it to you.

With that, I'll pause and take your questions.

Please?

Q Thank you. Diane (Purtin ?) with WFLA TV. I'm wondering about your remarks about intelligence, and in particular the work that our forces, in conjunction with the native population, have done in terms of searching caves and houses and so forth.

GEN. FRANKS: Right.

Q I guess we saw some of the results of those searches yesterday when the FBI released the video of the five people that they want to find. From your perspective, from a military perspective, what does the need to find these five people suggest about the risk that's still out there for those of us here at home?

GEN. FRANKS: I'm not familiar with the precise case in point, but I think that certainly one of the things we want out of our exploitation of these hide sites and safe houses, caves and so forth, is actionable information and intelligence which will permit us to disrupt planned terrorist activity.

You know, we've said from the very beginning of this that there is a distinct possibility that terrorist acts can be committed today, tomorrow, in a great number of places around the world. Perhaps as many as 60-plus countries where we see terrorist organizations, cells, operating with great reach, global reach. And so, as we go through all of the intelligence acquisitions that we have inside Afghanistan, that is of course the very first thing that we're looking for, to be able to preempt or disrupt activity that may have already been planned. So not surprising to me.

Please?

Q General, good afternoon. Mark Wilson (sp) from WTVT here in Tampa.

GEN. FRANKS: Hi, Mark.

Q There's a report today, President Musharraf of Pakistan says he believes that Osama bin Laden may be dead, perhaps from kidney failure. Have you received any intelligence to that regard?

GEN. FRANKS: I have received no intelligence to that effect. I've read -- I've read the report that you mentioned, the comment by President Musharraf. But no, I have not seen anything in intelligence that would confirm or deny that.

To the Pentagon, please.

Q General Franks, this is Bob Burns with Associated Press. I'd like to ask you about Saudi Arabia. You're aware of news reports today that the Saudi royal family is coming of the view that it's time for the United States to withdraw its military forces from the kingdom. I'm wondering if you can say whether you have had any contact -- whether anyone from Saudi Arabia has approached you about this issue? And also, could you explain the importance of Saudi Arabia, in military terms, to you in the Central region?

GEN. FRANKS: All right. No one from Saudi Arabia has contacted me and suggested that what I saw printed earlier today is a fact.

Saudi Arabia, in my direct experience -- which goes back, I guess, about 11 years now, since I first went to Saudi -- has been a participating coalition friend. I've been in and out of Saudi Arabia a great many times. I have friends and professional acquaintances there. And so the honest answer is no, I have not been approached, either in writing, by telephone, or any other way, by Saudis suggesting that we're not welcome there.

I will say that the Saudis have -- for Operation Enduring Freedom, the Saudis have provided the support that we've needed in order to do this work, and I'd have to leave it at that point. They are a key member of our activity, have been and remain so. And I'd stop there.

Q General Franks, Barbara Starr with CNN. Going back to Afghanistan, could you bring us up to date on the pace of activity in southeastern Afghanistan, especially, I guess, southeast of Kandahar, south of Khost and Gardez? How active a region is that for you? Are you finding the kind of local support you found in other areas, or is local support throughout this region more challenging? And how disturbed are you by the continuing reports that throughout this region local Afghans are facilitating the escape of Taliban and al Qaeda across the border?

GEN. FRANKS: The last first. We have continued -- and I think you're aware -- we have continued since we started this operation to believe that members of the Taliban have crossed these very porous borders.

As I've mentioned before, the area of Khost-Gardez certainly is of interest to us, because it happens to be one of the later areas that we've moved our forces into. What we have found with the tribal shuras in the area is that they remain ready to cooperate with us. We have forces there now, working with Afghan units out -- finding and working our way through some of these cave complexes and bunker sites that I think have been reported in the last week or 10 days, finding tremendous amounts of ammunition, equipment, in some cases tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, mortars, mortar ammunition.

And so I think that we're neither ahead of nor behind any sort of schedule associated with that; there's just a lot of work to be done there, and so we're just continuing to do it.

Back to Tampa, please.

Q Over here.

GEN. FRANKS: Please.

Q John Thomas, WFTS here in Tampa. I believe this is the first news conference here in Tampa since the tragedy involving the Cessna at the Bank of America Building.

GEN. FRANKS: Right.

Q Are we going to have fighters stationed here in Tampa at MacDill, or for that matter, have you discussed that with anyone?

GEN. FRANKS: That's a very good question. And as a matter of fact, I have discussed it with several people. I discussed it with Congressman -- Chairman Young here -- oh, I don't know, the last three or four days. And I think my assessment is that MacDill Air Base and the area of Tampa is in the same category as a great many of our military facilities in our country, a great many of our -- oh, I don't know -- federal, state buildings, and our infrastructure and so forth.

I have been satisfied, up to this point, that careful deliberation has been undertaken in each one of the cases where we have decided where to position security assets, close air patrol, and that sort of thing. And I really don't see any change to the process associated with that. I think that the area of MacDill and Tampa will simply be put in that mix and will be evaluated along with other installations and assets in the country, and a determination will be made, certainly not by us here in Central Command, about whether or not to add to the capability that we see here now.

Please?

Q Well, would you, yourself, like to see fighters based here?

GEN. FRANKS: Actually, it's a tough question. And I'm not even trying to give you a circuitous answer. I actually have been very well satisfied that the balance of precious assets, like combat air patrol and that sort of thing, the numbers of fighters that we have, and the numbers of installations which we perceive across the nation to be very important, I think that process has worked very well. And so I actually do place my confidence in that process because I think that the decisions that are made about where the highest level threats are and where the assets need to be positioned are -- I think that's done in a very thoughtful way. And so I'm okay with it the way it is, and whatever decision is made about that, I'll be comfortable with it.

Q This is one heck of a high asset that we have here, though.

GEN. FRANKS: It is --

Q And for people to see that the fighters are coming from just outside Miami, it's quite a ways.

GEN. FRANKS: It is a precious asset. But certainly, as you know, we have a great many precious assets in this country. And so I think all of us should be comfortable with the approach that is taken by our military to balance the requirement against available assets. And so honestly, I am comfortable with what I see. And I don't know what the outcome will be.

Q Comfortable with the way it is right now?

GEN. FRANKS: Oh, I'm comfortable with the review process. And I think the review process will, again, take a look at all the assets we have -- the assets that we have or the installations and infrastructure, if you will -- the assets that we have, and will balance these in a way that provides us the best protection. I'm comfortable with that. I'd like you to be comfortable with that, also.

Please.

Q Robert Pankow (sp), with WFLA radio. We were told yesterday by Senator Graham that the intelligence community believes that bin Laden has perhaps left Afghanistan --

GEN. FRANKS: Right.

Q -- into Pakistan somewhere near the Khyber Pass area. Can you tell us what's the latest on the search for bin Laden?

GEN. FRANKS: (Chuckles.) I will; I will tell you honestly. We do not know the location of bin Laden. Bin Laden could be -- you know, we're in the speculative sort of world. Bin Laden could be alive or dead or in Afghanistan or not. And everyone -- I think when we discuss it, it -- there's a bit of humor associated with it, because, as you would suspect, we have -- we have lots and lots of information that comes -- that comes available. And we look at all of this information.

It would not surprise anyone in this room to know that all of this information does not agree in its -- in its speculation about where bin Laden or any other particular person may be at a point in time. And so what we do is, we take all of it, and then we very methodically confirm or deny its validity. And up to this point, we have denied the validity of all of the information that we have received. That doesn't mean that there won't be more information tonight and tomorrow which we'll go about our business running down. And so that's the best answer I can give you.

Please.

Q Do you believe he's still in Afghanistan?

GEN. FRANKS: Right now I don't -- I honestly don't know where he is. When I think all of us say that we don't know where bin Laden is, I think that's -- I think that's a true statement. We really don't know where he is, whether he's in Afghanistan or whether he may have left. But we know this: The world is not a large enough place for him to hide. He may hide today. He may hide tomorrow. But it's not large enough for him to hide in.

Back to the Pentagon, please.

Q General Franks, Bryan Bender (sp) with The Boston Globe.

Now that you've had a few days to go back and do an assessment, can you update us on the al Qaeda compound near Khost that was the focus of bombing last week? What have you found there? Who have you found there, if anyone? And also, a little general overview about other potential pockets of resistance still in Afghanistan.

GEN. FRANKS: Without characterizing specifically how many there are, I will tell you that there are a number of potential pockets of resistance, and there are a number of sites -- order of magnitude 10 or so at any given point in time -- where we will be -- where we'll be focused. And when I say "focused," I mean, where we physically will go, and -- and root it out.

What we have found in the area that you mentioned over the last week or 10 days is -- as a matter of fact, the laundry list that I gave a minute ago is representative of that. We have found tanks. We have found armored personnel carriers. We have found thousands and thousands of rounds of ammunition. We have found artillery ammunition. We have found mortar ammunition. We have found small arms. We have found rocket-propelled grenades. And we have found what has been characterized as several -- let me get it right -- several filing cabinets full of documentary evidence that we have taken out and are in the process of going through very methodically right now.

And so this is a place, and inside Afghanistan there are probably many such places. And that's why we have not been in a hurry to go and exploit these. What we do is, we simply work our way through them. We're in a hurry to get to them, because, as I mentioned earlier, we want to preempt the possibility of a future attack or gain insights into that. But once we get into one of these areas, we're also very thorough and very careful as we go through it.

Q General, this is Pam Hess from United Press International. I want to press you a little bit more on the Saudi issue. Those of us that have traveled over there always hear them say there are no U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia, because -- they rationalize this by saying that they're enforcing a U.N. mission. They -- the people that live there are increasingly restive, and there seems to be growing anti- American sentiment.

So it's just -- it's sort of hard to accept the administration's denials today that no, there's nothing going on there. It seems like everyone's saying that, but all the -- the signs are pointing in a different direction. Can you help us square what we're seeing with our own eyes and through reading local news reports with what is coming out of your mouth and from the White House today?

GEN. FRANKS: Pam, I'll do my best to put corners on the box. I don't know how well I'll do. My personal experience and what I've seen is as I characterized it a minute ago. I have seen during the course of this operation support by the government of Saudi Arabia. I have not received a suggestion by the leadership of Saudi Arabia that we should change our posture or our military-to-military relationship with Saudi Arabia.

I can't comment as to the sources of the information that I saw reported earlier today, because it's simply not within my experience. I can only sort of reinforce the importance of the relationship we have had and continue to have with Saudi Arabia, and the fact that they are continuing to support us. And that really is the best I can give you right now.

Back to Tampa.

Q General --

GEN. FRANKS: Yes, sir?

Q -- George Coryell, Tampa Tribune.

With information gathered in Afghanistan leading to the breakup of the cell in Singapore, basically how much carryover are you seeing from the information and intelligence you're gathering into --

GEN. FRANKS: I'm sorry, how much what?

Q How much carryover into other countries are you starting to see?

GEN. FRANKS: Yeah. I think as we take a look at the number of terrorists and terrorist-associated supporters who have been arrested since the 11th of September, in a great many countries, it would be accurate to say insights have been gained, such as the insights into the potential problem in Singapore. I'm not sure I'd want to characterize which specific piece of information came from within Afghanistan as opposed to which piece may have come from arrests in someplace else.

The issue for us is to be capable enough in our interrelationships of intelligence activities globally so that the pieces of the mosaic are shared in a way that permit us to have results like the one we had in Singapore. And there have been other examples of places where valuable intelligence information has been gained and put together since the 11th of September.

Tampa. Yes, ma'am?

Q Hi, General Franks. I'm Amy Sherrit (ph) with the Fox News Channel.

GEN. FRANKS: Hi, Ma'am.

Q In the fall, we heard a lot of anticipation about what the winter in Afghanistan was going to be like --

GEN. FRANKS: Right.

Q -- and how this was going to affect our troops. Now that it's January 18th, can you tell us how they're being affected, if they're being affected, and what's going on?

GEN. FRANKS: That's a great question. I spoke to one of our great commanders, who has recently been in the media, Brigadier General Gary Harrell, just outside of Kabul this morning, and I think the temperature was about 11 degrees Fahrenheit. There is, in fact, a lot of snow on the high ground. Our forces are doing magnificently. We have not seen any cold weather injuries. And so I suppose one speculation which we probably gave you that turned out to be true was that winter will be tough. But our forces are prepared to deal with that, and we have not seen bad effect from that.

Now, obviously, within some of the internal high villages and communities in Afghanistan, we certainly have seen evidence of people in need of support, and all of us have worked and work every day very hard to try to get humanitarian assistance and blankets and the like up into these more remote areas. But in terms of the effect on our military people, they're doing fine.

Back to the Pentagon, please.

Q General, Thelma Labrett (sp) with AP Broadcast. I wondered if I could go back to two things you mentioned. You said that you're finding several cabinets of documentary evidence. And also, you said there have been other examples of valuable information that may have prevented, thwarted some terrorist attacks. Could you elaborate on both of those?

GEN. FRANKS: Really can't elaborate on the latter part about which pieces of information have been put together as part of the mosaic that have either led to additional arrests, because that's certainly a part of this, or to information that has enabled us to better protect ourselves. What I can say is that we have -- we have taken from within Afghanistan from a whole variety of places -- some safe houses, and I think you have seen snippets and bits of this as we've gone along, some from Kabul, some from Jalalabad, some from Kandahar, and the list goes on -- a great many pieces of documentary evidence: diaries, computer hard drives, whole computers. And we have put in place over there in Afghanistan the ability to conduct immediate and essential screening of these sorts of documents so that we can determine which ones we can afford to wait on for analysis, and we bring those back to the United States for work, and which ones seem to have something to do with potential action in the immediate future. And we of course move those much more quickly to a variety of different places. And that is the best answer that I can give you.

We have found an awful lot. We have learned an awful lot. We have not yet found any weapons of mass destruction. We have found potential. We have certainly found a desire on the part of al Qaeda to have weapons of mass destructions. I think reported last week were several canisters that we found that had Russian writing and skull and crossbones on those canisters, which could indicated something to us. We have done preliminary screening on those canisters. Did not find anything that immediately alarmed us. But we have removed them and brought them back to some laboratories for work here in the United States, which will be pursued over the next two or three weeks.

Q General, this is Tony Capacio (sp) with Bloomberg News. Can you sketch out your thinking right now of the long-term prospects for U.S. presence in Central Asia, what form, duration it may take, pre-positioned equipment, possibly a base there, or at least basing rights and overflight permission?

GEN. FRANKS: I could give you -- I could give you my thoughts on where we may want to be in Central Asia. Unfortunately, probably Secretary Rumsfeld would throw a snowball at me if I did, because right now we're in the process of thinking our way through exactly what should our longer-terms posturing and positioning be in Central Asia. And so whatever I might -- whatever I might give you, I might believe very firmly. Unfortunately, I haven't yet had a chance to talk about it with the secretary, and so I'll wait to do that before I -- before I describe it. I will say that we do find benefit in our relationships in Central Asia, and I would anticipate that our relationships with Central Asian countries will continue to grow in the future.

Back to Tampa. Sir?

Q Could you address for us the issue of the Philippines? We know some troops arrived this week. Can you tell us, with regard to the troops that arrived, how many of them, roughly, are Special Forces and exactly what role -- what, exactly, will they be doing in relation with the Filipino troops there?

GEN. FRANKS: I don't know and I don't know, because the Philippines is in Admiral Blair's area. But having taken advantage of you like that, I'll give you another question. Come at me again.

Q There was a report about another shipment of detainees that left Kandahar last night, possibly headed to Pakistan. Is that, in fact, true? And if so, why Pakistan and not Cuba? What makes this trip different?

GEN. FRANKS: That is a fair question. And what we have done in the case of the very young and the very old detainees who are Pakistanis who may be detained inside Afghanistan, when we have control of them ourselves and they're not useful to us and they have nothing to offer us, then we render them to Pakistan. And so that is the example that you described. It does happen, and it will continue.

Sir?

Q David Ballinger (sp), St. Petersburg Times. Back to the Afghanistan winter. You mentioned some evidence of need in the villages. How severe is the need? Do we have hunger, fatalities?

GEN. FRANKS: The need up in the high country. I've seen pictures and I've seen reports of very serious need in some of the higher villages. The reports and the pictures that I have seen are two, maybe three weeks old now. And I think the organizations inside Afghanistan, with some considerable military support, have done a great -- have done a great deal in order to get warm clothing, blankets and food up into some of these high areas. That's the good side of the equation. The bad side is that there remain as we speak some very inaccessible places inside Afghanistan where we have not yet been able to get much-needed support.

Back to the Pentagon.

Q General Franks, Jim Dow (sp) from the New York Times. Following up on an earlier question about pockets of resistance, could you update us at all about the situation around the town of Baghran, northwest of Kandahar? There were reports of large numbers of Taliban troops there just a few weeks ago. Are they still there? Are U.S. forces in the region looking for them?

GEN. FRANKS: U.S. forces continue to work with Afghan forces up north and northwest and northeast of Kandahar. The current assessment is that there may remain small pockets of resistance in the area that you referenced. The assessment is that there are not large areas or large pockets of Taliban resistance. A great many of the fighters you made reference to have in fact surrendered to Afghan forces and have been disarmed. And we have been for about the past week in the business of collecting certain weapons and destroying other weapons from those people who turned them in. And that operation in the area of Bagram will continue for the foreseeable future.

Q General, it's John McQuethy (sp) with ABC. An envoy from the U.S., Zalmay Khalilzad, has been traveling throughout Afghanistan and made some comments today, and perhaps you can help clarify them. One thing he said about the Iranians is that they are causing problems for the United States and for the unity and stability of the government in Afghanistan. Can you give us your assessment of the role Iran is playing? Is it helpful? And if not, why not?

GEN. FRANKS: I can't really talk to you a great deal about Iran. I talk to Zal Khalilzad two or three times a week. I spoke to him a couple of days ago. There has been a perception among several of the leaders inside Afghanistan that Iran has in some cases not been terribly helpful. I've heard those -- that sort of comment from some of the leadership inside Afghanistan. As to what all of that means and just how disruptive this is viewed within Afghanistan by Mr. Khalilzad or Chairman Karzai I'd have to leave to them to describe.

Our operations have been able to continue as we have worked with Afghan forces in areas over by Iran, for example, around Herat. And so one hears the discussion from a variety of Afghan leaders about the Iranians, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge that would -- you know, that would indicate to me that the problem is smaller or larger than Mr. Khalilzad described it.

Q General Franks, Nora O'Donna (sp) with NBC News. Earlier this week, a man described as a Taliban financier walked up to the gates of the Kandahar airfield and agreed to surrender and talk to officials there. One of the spokesmen from Kandahar said they were jumping with joy at the opportunity to question him. There have been some reports that he's interested in the $25 million that is being offered for Osama bin Laden. Has this Taliban financier been useful? Has he provided any useful information? Or is he a nobody?

GEN. FRANKS: Hard question to answer. He is not a nobody. He is as advertised; he is a financier with whom we have been having some discussions. And I think the information that he'll give will be useful to us, along with information, as I mentioned earlier, that we've gotten from a great many of these detainees.

In terms of just how valuable and in terms of whether or not he's interested in the regard that's been posted on bin Laden, I honestly can't -- I can't say, and I wouldn't want to speculate about it.

Back to Tampa. Please. Yes, sir?

Q What is in the long-term future for the detainees at Guantanamo?

GEN. FRANKS: Right. I think that the detainees in Guantanamo will be taken care of in accordance with a process that is being identified in Washington as we speak. And that may not be a fully satisfying answer to you, but I think the first thing we know is that we want to interrogate these detainees for intelligence value. We have done that in Afghanistan, to an extent. When we have them in Guantanamo Bay, that sort of interrogation will continue, and then determinations will be made as to whether these -- a given detainee may be retained for intelligence value or may be handed over for prosecution within legal channels. And I think it'll depend on each one of the detainees. Each will be interviewed, and a determination will be made.

Now as to what the legal process will be in order to dispose of the detainees, I really don't know.

Q General, basically some of the warlords that assisted the U.S. in Afghanistan seem to be asserting sovereignty now. How problematic has this been for you?

GEN. FRANKS: Fair question. It can be problematic, provided that we get ourselves in fights between valid Afghan authorities and some, as you described, warlord.

In many cases, what we have described as a "warlord" in the past has simply been a leader of a number of Afghan fighters in the opposition groups. In some cases, these Afghan leaders have become province chiefs, they've become governors of towns, and I think only the future will tell us whether or not Mr. Karzai's interim government is able to pull this variety of personalities from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, from a variety of different tribal affiliations, and put them together in a way that provides for a functioning government. So it can be a problem, but up to this point, I have not seen evidence of it being a problem.

Tampa, anybody else?

Yes?

Q Is there any way that you can share with us your assessment of whether the intelligence gathering that you've referred to several times today has in fact interrupted a future attack on anyone, on American assets or our allies?

GEN. FRANKS: I can't -- I can't because I'm not in a position to provide you, you know, the date and the timing of a specific attack that was prevented.

What I will say is that in the course of reviewing this documentation and evidence that we have seen, we have seen indicators of potential future attacks and we have acted accordingly. Now, whether -- how far along the attack planning may have been and whether specific people were arrested at a point in time who were related directly to this incident, I think is a little more speculative than I'd want to be.

I'd just continue to characterize what we have taken in terms of exploited information as being very -- very helpful; it has been. And I think there's a lot of work left to do in order to gain a great deal more information and insight into these cells and this network and how it operates.

Back to the Pentagon.

Q General Franks, Jeff Goldman at CBS News. After two days of being at Guantanamo, have members of the International Committee for the Red Cross raised any concerns to you, SOUTHCOM or the commanders at Guantanamo Bay about the conditions that the detainees are living in, and do they feel that things are meeting the Geneva Convention for prisoners?

GEN. FRANKS: I spoke to the commander of Southern Command within the last two hours. He indicated to me that the team -- the International Committee of the Red Cross team was on the ground, that they had had discussions with the leaders; that their particular work to go through the facility, to talk to the people, I believe has not yet begun. And so no, there is nothing negative that I have to report on it right now. I think it's work that's ongoing.

Q General, I'm Carl Osgood with the Executive Intelligence Review. About a month ago, President Bush remarked on the close relationship between terrorism and drug trafficking. I'm wondering, are we taking any measures to deal with this problem in Afghanistan?

GEN. FRANKS: We have taken measures to work the problem of drugs in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, some of our Special Operation Force activity in Afghanistan previously was responsible for breaking up some drug storage facilities and the confiscation and destruction of some drugs, and so forth, like that.

So yes, this has been a part of our activity and it will continue to be a part of our activity in Afghanistan.

Last question? All finished? Okay, last question from Pentagon, please.

Q General, this is Jim Mannion from Agence France-Presse. I'd like to ask you what the tensions between Pakistan and India, what impact that has had on the operations on the Afghan border, and also whether your forces have had to give up any space or any facilities to accommodate the Pakistanis.

GEN. FRANKS: Of course. The border situation between India and Pakistan is of concern. It has been. It remains of concern to us. We'll remain hopeful of a positive outcome with it. I think a lot of diplomacy has gone on with that. So, what have we seen in Pakistan? We have seen the repositioning of some forces. We have also seen the retention of forces that have been working with us along the Pakistani-Afghan border. We have continued to see those forces present. Some have repositioned, but many have remained. We're in contact with those forces in terms of sharing facilities inside Pakistan. We have been sharing facilities inside Pakistan and continue to do so even during this -- oh, I don't know, time of crisis that you're referencing. So the relationships with Pakistan have been good. They remain good.

Q This is Jim Garamone from -- General?

GEN. FRANKS: Please.

Q -- American Forces Press Service. Has the deployment of the 101st finished yet? And can you give us a ballpark figure on how many Americans there are in Afghanistan?

GEN. FRANKS: The deployment of the 101st has not finished, and we have made it a practice to not put a benchmark down in terms of the number of forces inside Afghanistan. But let me give you this much. What we -- what we're doing with the 101st is we're moving some Marine forces out, we're moving some forces of the 101st in, and the general number of our forces in Afghanistan has remained about steady over the last couple of weeks. And that doesn't mean that it won't, as I've said before, that doesn't mean that it won't go up in the future if it needs to, because it certainly will. But what we're looking at right now is a reasonably steady force structure inside the country.

Okay.

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