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SLUG: 0-09748 Editorial - Fighting in Afghanistan







Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government:

Voice: In Afghanistan, the oppressive Taleban regime has been overthrown and replaced by an interim government led by Hamid Karzai. The Taleban quickly learned a lesson articulated by President George W. Bush: "If you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. And that's what the Taleban found out."

Former Taleban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar is on the run. He will be found. Likewise, Osama bin Laden can no longer operate freely. The head of the al-Qaida terrorist group, which made its home in Afghanistan, will be found too.

The U.S.-led coalition freed Afghan men, women and children from one of the most barbaric regimes in modern history. Afghanistan was a place where men were forced to grow beards. Women were largely restricted to their homes and were forced to endure strict dress codes. Schools were closed, depriving children of an education. Afghanistan is now on the road to recovery. The U.S. has helped to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, delivering relief to the Afghan people and support to the new government.

But as President Bush said, "Afghanistan is still a dangerous place." An international security force made up of about four-thousand five-hundred soldiers from Britain, Turkey, and other members of the U.S.-led coalition now patrols Kabul. One-hundred-sixty miles south, Afghan forces, assisted by more than one-thousand U.S. and other coalition troops, are participating in Operation Anaconda. They are surrounding and gradually destroying hundreds of hard-core al-Qaida and Taleban. Hundreds of Taleban and al-Qaida have already been killed. If the remainder do not surrender, as Afghan leader Karzai put it, "We are determined to finish them and send them to hell."

The fighting in Paktia province won't be the last. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "You cannot defend against terrorists by hunkering down. You simply must go after them. . . . The only proper defense is an offense."

The task of hunting down and rooting out the terrorist networks is difficult and dangerous. There are still people in Afghanistan who want to disrupt the interim government and cause the country to revert back to being a sanctuary for murderers and terrorists.

As President Bush put it, "We must continue to fight for freedom. And. . .where we find these killers, we'll bring them to justice."

Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043.

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