Powell Details Effort Against Terror in New Report
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2002 While the lethal threat terrorism casts on the world is not new, "the world's resolve to defeat it has never been greater," said Secretary of State Colin Powell May 21.
Powell, introducing the State Department's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism, said the world has answered President Bush's call for a coalition against global terrorism.
The report, mandated by Congress, puts the global campaign against terrorism in perspective. The 2001 version features a country-by-country listing of what these nations have done to support the campaign against global terrorism.
"For some nations this means new counterterrorism laws, tighter border security and increased financial controls, " said Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism who wrote the report. "For others, it means contributing military assets to operations in Afghanistan. For others still, it is an aggressive sanctioning of terrorist groups in order to curtail their criminal activities."
Powell said the United States and its coalition allies have destroyed the al Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan and ended the oppressive Taliban regime. "But the continuing campaign against terrorism isn't only about Afghanistan and bringing the perpetrators, planners and abettors of the Sept. 11 attacks to account," he said. "It is also about bringing the international community's combined strengths to bear against the scourge of terrorism and its many manifestations throughout the world."
Taylor said the report lists successes to date in the war on terrorism and charts the way ahead. "By the end of last year 1,000 al Qaeda operatives had been arrested in more than 60 countries," Taylor said. "Today, that figure stands at 1,600 operatives in 95 countries. But al Qaeda has not been defeated and operatives from other terrorist groups still pose an equally deadly threat."
Powell said advances of technology and globalization have extended terrorists' reach by making it easier for them to move about, form networks and conspire with or without state sponsors.
Powell also said that the report details efforts by terrorist groups to radiological, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. "The terrorist threat is global in scope, many-faceted and determined," he said.
Just as terrorists have multiple weapons, the campaign against them must be "comprehensive, multi-dimensional and steadfast." He said the war must be fought on many fronts with every tool of statecraft. The report details how coalition members have strengthened law enforcement and intelligence cooperation, tightened border controls and "made it harder for terrorists to travel and communicate and therefore to plot."
Another aspect is financial. Those efforts against terrorists have already denied $100 million from terrorist coffers, Taylor said.
Other nations need help in fighting the cancer of terrorism, Powell said. The United States has launched a train and equip program with Georgia to develop that country's counterterrorism capabilities. Other U.S. forces are working with the government of Yemen "to root out al Qaeda cells and to ensure that Yemen is not used as a base for terrorist organizations."
U.S. military personnel are also working with the armed forces of the Philippines to help them defeat terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf. This group kidnapped three U.S. citizens and 17 Filipinos in May 2001 from a resort on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines. The report noted that 15 escaped or were ransomed; three hostages (including Guillermo Sobero, a US citizen) were murdered; and two US citizens remained captive at year's end.
"Terrorists respect no limits geographic or moral," Powell said. "The front lines are everywhere and the stakes are high."
To view the report, go to www.state.gov.