Trasnlation: We can't find him, we give up....

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ARogueTrader, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. U.S. General Says Bin Laden 'Out of the Picture'
    Fri Nov 21, 9:23 AM ET Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A senior U.S. general said on Friday that al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) had "taken himself out of the picture" and that his capture was not essential to winning the "war on terror."

    General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at U.S. military headquarters just north of Kabul that the 11,500-strong U.S.-led force hunting al Qaeda and Taliban militants was not focusing on individuals.

    "He (bin Laden) has taken himself out of the picture," Pace told reporters after visiting U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan (news - web sites).

    "It is not an individual that is as important as is the ongoing campaign of the coalition against terrorists," he said.

    America's new ambassador to Kabul Zalmay Khalilzad said earlier this week that the U.S. military would "redouble" its efforts to find bin Laden and other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

    While appearing to contradict this, Pace, added: "That is not to say that we would not be glad to capture Osama bin Laden today or tomorrow."

    He said U.S.-led forces were winning their war against "terrorists" in Afghanistan, despite nearly 400 people being killed in just over three months in the bloodiest period since the Taliban's ouster two years ago.

    "The fact that the enemy is not pooling up in waves that can be attacked in large numbers to me means that in fact the coalition is being effective," Pace said.

    There have been very few major clashes between U.S. forces and Islamic militants in the past two years.

    In the most recent case, hundreds of Taliban were hunted down by U.S. forces and Afghan troops in the troubled provinces of Uruzgan and Zabul in August and early September, leading to the death of over a hundred rebels.

    But generally U.S. operations, including the latest launched in the northeast earlier this month, kill few militants due to their apparent ability to blend into local populations or flee into the hills, often crossing into neighboring Pakistan.

    "We will continue to pursue them to make sure that they don't re-establish any kind of a stronghold," said Pace.

    He added that civilian-military teams already in some cities were the ideal way for the international community to contribute to Afghan stability, and that Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to fight militants active on their common frontier.

    Afghanistan suspects Pakistan is turning a blind eye to Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, but Islamabad says it is doing all it can to support the U.S. "war on terror."

    Also believed to be at large in Afghanistan or Pakistan are Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.