Hunt Continues for Al Qaeda, Taliban Leaders
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2001 The hunt for the leaders of the Al Qaeda terrorist network continues in eastern Afghanistan, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said Dec. 9.
The search for Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants centers around Tora Bora and the White Mountains near the border with Pakistan. Pakistani officials said thousands of their troops are deployed on their side of the border to ensure none of the terrorist leaders escape the tightening noose.
Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fox Sunday Morning that U.S. officials know generally where bin Laden is. He said Northern Alliance forces in the area are doing most of the fighting, which he termed "intense." While U.S. ground troops are assisting opposition forces, he said, they are prepared to go in "unilaterally" if needed.
The situation is fluid in the Taliban stronghold city of Kandahar, Myers said. Opposition and U.S. forces are trying to intercept escaping Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
"We want to get any leadership that's trying to escape, or any al Qaeda or non-Afghan fighters that might come back to fight another day," Myers said. "So, we're looking quite hard for them."
Some of the foreign fighters can blend in with the Afghan population, but coalition forces are watching for that, he said. The coalition is also searching ships that may be carrying senior Al Qaeda and Taliban officials. Myers said the coalition has searched some vessels but there was "no luck so far."