Taking Stock After Three Months of Combat
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2002 President Bush announced on Oct. 7, 2001, that the United States had begun striking the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld later that day took the rostrum in the Pentagon and spoke about America's aims in its war on terrorists.
Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke today -- three months after the start of military action -- detailed the progress against terror in Afghanistan. She listed the goals Rumsfeld set forth on Oct. 7.
- Demonstrate to the Taliban that harboring terrorists is unacceptable and carries a price.
- Acquire intelligence to facilitate future U.S. operations against the Al Qaeda terror network and Taliban regime.
- Develop relationships with anti-Taliban groups in Afghanistan.
- Make it difficult for the terrorists to use Afghanistan freely as a base of operations.
- Alter the military balance over time by hitting the offensive power of the Taliban that had stymied opposition forces.
- Provide humanitarian relief to the Afghans who were suffering oppressive conditions under the Taliban.
By any measure, she said, the United States and its coalition allies have made progress in meeting these objectives.
"The Taliban no longer runs the country," Clarke said. "An interim government is in place to start rebuilding Afghanistan."
She said the coalition has hurt and dispersed Taliban forces. "We've killed or captured some of the Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and we've assisted in delivering a record amount of humanitarian supplies to the people of Afghanistan," she said.
She said military operations in Afghanistan "are on track and we are pleased with the operations thus far, and of course, we're very grateful to the men and women in uniform who continue to risk their lives daily in defense of our freedoms."