Tags: War | International | Terrorism | Not | Yet | Won

War on International Terrorism Not Yet Won

Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM

On Tuesday, President Bush said in his State of the Union Address that U.S. intelligence agencies had found designs of American nuclear facilities in terrorist bases in Afghanistan, an indication that attacks on these targets were planned. "What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that – far from ending there – our war against terror is only beginning," he said.

All of us can only agree with Bush that the war against international terrorism is far from won and the major goals of the anti-terror operation have yet to be reached. Osama bin Laden’s fate and present location are unknown, and members of his organization continue their preparations for new attacks against Americans here and around the globe.

As the media have reported, U.S. intelligence has recently issued an internal alert that Islamic terrorists are planning another spectacular attack to rival those carried out on Sept. 11.

This time they are targeting U.S. nuclear plants or other nuclear facilities; a U.S. warship in Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet; another airliner attack; a vehicle bombing; or other such attacks.

At the present time, it doesn’t matter exactly who is designing these new operations against America – Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants or other terrorist groups. They are all cold-blooded assassins and must be punished for their murders and their plans to kill more innocent civilians.

Bin Laden, however, is at the top of the list of the most-wanted and has to be found either "dead or alive," no matter where he is hiding.

According to recent press reports, CIA analysts concluded that bin Laden escaped from the Tora Bora cave complex in early December and has since fled the region. Throughout December, however, U.S. military efforts focused on continued bombing of the Tora Bora cave complex in eastern Afghanistan.

In other words, nobody knows his location for sure; he could be hiding anywhere.

This situation highlights the difficulty of trying to track down and capture an important but single terrorist. In this contest, it would be difficult to disagree with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who very early on characterized the hunt for bin Laden as searching for a needle in a haystack, but without his capture it’s impossible to claim victory in the war against terrorism.

We know that the U.S. intelligence agencies have had experience in successfully locating "needles in haystacks," but now need more political support than ever before. While U.S. officials continue to pin their hopes on the belief that bin Laden remains in Afghanistan, the world is a very big place, where he could find many places to hide.

American officials need to understand that the war against international terrorism is no longer primarily a military operation. After the destruction of open resistance from the Taliban, it has become much more an operation of U.S. intelligence, whose capabilities are not unlimited and whose activities must be supported by all possible resources.

In particular, American officials need to bring pressure to bear on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to support intelligence operations in his country and to devote resources to an extensive manhunt for bin Laden inside Pakistan.

In November, Mr. Musharraf declared that he was "very sure" bin Laden was not in Pakistan, but that was then and this is now.

The same pressure needs to be put on the leaders of nations named by President Bush as the "axis of evils" (Iran, Iraq, North Korea) and on the ruling regimes of such countries as Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and others, where terrorist organizations have been known to operate.

Also, it’s necessary to keep our eyes focused on the activity of other nations considered to be sponsors of international terrorism, which until now have continued to support terrorist groups worldwide.

As the CIA said in a report made public Jan. 30, the danger of a terrorist attack with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons has increased since the Sept. 11 strikes. At the same time, terrorists likely will continue to favor "proven conventional tactics such as bombing and shootings," the report said.

There is no doubt that up until now, the U.S. has achieved a very important victory in Afghanistan. However, this victory is tactical, and the war against the major evil of our days is far from won.

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On Tuesday, President Bush said in his State of the Union Address that U.S. intelligence agencies had found designs of American nuclear facilities in terrorist bases in Afghanistan, an indication that attacks on these targets were planned. What we have found...
War,International,Terrorism,Not,Yet,Won
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2002-00-31
Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM
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