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SLUG: 0-09756 Editorial - Anaconda
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=03/12/2002

TYPE=EDITORIAL

NUMBER=0-09756

TITLE=EDITORIAL: ANACONDA

INTERNET=YES

CONTENT=THIS EDITORIAL IS BEING RELEASED FOR USE BY ALL SERVICES.

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

Voice: Sporadic fighting continues in the mountainous Paktia province of eastern Afghanistan. The United States-led coalition has inflicted heavy losses on al-Qaida and Taleban forces. The campaign -- called Operation Anaconda -- is the largest offensive of the five-month war. It was initiated when intelligence reports suggested that a terrorist attack was being planned against Afghanistan's interim government. As U-S Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "The battle very likely will take some time to play out."

Abdul Matin Hassankhiel [ahb-dul mah-tin hah-sahn-chill], an Afghan commander, told reporters that the coalition has blocked all escape routes. The Taleban and al-Qaida are surrounded. Hundreds have died. The rest have a decision to make: Surrender or be killed.

The Afghans, assisted by American forces, are working hard to make sure that noncombatants remain safe. "Our objective," said Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, "is not revenge. It is not retribution."

On October 7th, when the military campaign began, the U-S set out a series of objectives. Many have been accomplished. The Taleban have been driven from power. The al-Qaida terrorists no longer use Afghanistan as their sanctuary. The Afghan people don't face a humanitarian catastrophe. A new interim government is beginning to bring stability to Afghanistan.

U-S objectives in the future, said Mr. Rumsfeld are very simple, "that there be no sanctuary, [and] that there be no safe haven" for terrorists. The task is to pursue and run to ground terrorists wherever they are -- in Afghanistan and anywhere else in the world.

The U-S will establish strong military relationships with countries that share the U-S commitment against terrorism. The coalition will disrupt the activities of terrorist networks and deal with those states that sponsor, aid, abet, and tolerate terrorists. That includes countries that are pursuing the development of weapons of mass destruction. As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld put it, "We have to deny them sanctuary. We have to deny them safe haven. And we have to deny them the ability to train still more terrorists so that they can undertake still more violent attacks on the United States, our friends, and our allies."

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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