Terror War Calls for Global Effort
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 1, 2002 Despite success in Afghanistan, the battle against global terrorism goes far beyond the historically war-torn land in Central Asia, according to two top U.S. officials.
"As President Bush has said from the very beginning, this is going to be a long campaign against terror, and we have to be prepared to fight this campaign for as long as it takes with all the resources at our disposal and with all the linkages we can muster," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday on "This Week on ABC."
Powell said the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan has weakened al Qaeda, but the group continues to exist in dozens of countries. "We forced their leadership to disperse," he said. "We forced them into hiding, but we always said that they would be there, and they are going to be there for a long time until we root every single one of them out."
U.S. officials are also concerned about reported linkages between such terrorist groups as al Qaeda and Hezbollah, a terrorist group based in Lebanon, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We have been (concerned) for a long time, but it is every reason to be more resolute and tougher on terrorism abroad, as well as here at home," she said.
In the past eight months, Rice noted, the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan defeated the Taliban and helped break up al Qaeda's training camps, communication structure and leadership. "That portion of the war was successful more quickly than I think anybody would have thought," she noted. "One of the heartening things is that you now have a new leadership in Afghanistan that is devoted to fighting terror."
U.S. defense officials knew the terrorists would try to disperse into the mountains and tribal areas, so they sought them out in the Tora Bora area and launched Operation Anaconda in eastern Afghanistan. The permeable Afghan-Pakistani border where people are hiding is very rough territory, Rice noted, "but we have these people on the run. We will continue to fight them in those remote locations, and, yes, we will use Afghans with us who are now dedicated to the liberation of their country."
The overall goal in the war against terrorism is to break up the terrorist network, not just in Afghanistan, but around the world," Rice stressed. She said al Qaeda operatives are now being arrested in many partner countries, and a global intelligence and law enforcement network is continuing to disrupt terrorist activities.
"That's the nature of this war, and those who expect it to look like every other war are simply wrong," Rice said. "It's going to look different. It's going to take time. But this is a war that is being prosecuted extremely successfully."
Rice credited President Bush with uniting both the American people in the war on terror as well as the international coalition that is now sharing intelligence and employing both law enforcement officials and military forces. Twenty-seven countries are involved on the ground in Afghanistan, she said.
"This president has not only united the United States, but (he's) united the world in this war against terrorism."
The Bush administration also has made changes to improve the intelligence "fusion" between the FBI and the CIA, she said, and the president has asked Congress to create a Homeland Security Department. The new department would give federal officials "another set of eyes and ears on the intelligence that we're getting with a homeland security spin," she noted. "We very much need a daily picture of what the country is facing."
The nation is better prepared to deal with the terrorist threat now than it was Sept. 11, Rice concluded, "but it's a shadowy entity that we face and Americans need to get accustomed to the notion that we do still have vulnerabilities."