Myers: Success So Far, But Terror War Far From Over
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 19, 2001 Good planning, patience, and the willpower to win have enabled U.S. and coalition forces to defeat or neutralize Al Qaeda terrorist forces and their Taliban supporters throughout most of Afghanistan, DoD's senior military officer said today.
Some of the military success achieved thus far in Afghanistan "is attributable to the strategy, which was designed basically by [U.S.] Central Command, [with] a lot of help from the intelligence agencies," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at NATO headquarters here.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with reporters Dec. 19 at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Besides planning, "patience and the cooperation from our allies and the ability to use the full spectrum of U.S. military capabilities" assisted in achieving success thus far against the terrorists in Afghanistan, Myers remarked.
"Certainly, jointness was [also] a big part" of the military success in Afghanistan, he added.
However, the anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan isn't over, the general noted. He added that the war against worldwide terrorism "is going to take a long time," requiring "continuous effort" by the United States and its allies.
"This is a global war on terrorism," Myers said, quoting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The United States and its allies, Myers added, will continue to carry the fight to "terrorists and their networks, [and] those that support them."
Also targeted are "those that conduct research [for] or produce weapons of mass destruction" that could fall into the hands of terrorists, Myers noted.
Myers noted that military action isn't the only option that can be employed in the war on global terrorism. Financial, diplomatic, law enforcement, or intelligence options are also available to America and its allies, he added.
"Obviously, in Afghanistan we're focused on the military action; that's what is the most visible," Myers said, adding that he wouldn't speculate where, besides Afghanistan, the war on terrorism might continue.
U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan continue the search for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Myers said. He remarked that he didn't know if bin Laden is still in the mountainous Tora Bora region, if he has been injured or killed, or, if he has left Afghanistan.
"We will continue to follow all leads, though," Myers emphasized, adding, "It is not just bin Laden we're after.
Bin Laden "has handfuls of lieutenants we really want to go after," the general noted.
"We know who they are, they already have rewards on their heads, and we'll follow them wherever they go," he concluded.
Rumsfeld and Myers had completed two days of NATO defense ministerial meetings today. The defense secretary and the general both arrived in Brussels Dec. 17. Rumsfeld arrived in Brussels near the end of a six- day trip, which had included a Dec. 16 stop at Bagram Air Base, about 20 miles from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
After the press conference, Rumsfeld flew on to Washington, while Myers continues eastward for a holiday-season visit with U.S. troops serving in parts of South Asia and the Middle East. The general is slated to return to Washington, Dec. 24.