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9/4/03 - AFGHAN FIGHTING - 2003-09-04

The U.S.-led coalition is committed to fighting terrorism. Rooting the Taleban out of Afghanistan was the first battle. The Muslim extremist Taleban regime had provided the home base and primary sanctuary for al-Qaida terrorists. But remnants of the Taleban and al-Qaida still remain in parts of the country.

In recent days, suspected Taleban forces killed at least nine Afghan soldiers and policemen in the southern part of the country. They died in a region where Afghan and coalition forces are operating. Coalition forces have also been killed.

The coalition has taken the offensive and is using warplanes and helicopters to flush out Taleban forces hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan’s Dai Chopan district. Military commanders report that nearly one-hundred Taleban fighters have been killed in the fighting.

As U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker, said, the U.S. will “stick with our commitments”:

“Terrorism is still a problem, but the situation for the people of Afghanistan is inarguably much better than it was previously under that [Taleban] regime, and we are going to continue to work with the Afghan people themselves to make sure it is better, so that they have stability, peace, security, and prosperity.”

Mr. Reeker said that the U.S. will not be “turned back or turned away by negative reports or by some setbacks”:

“What we have to do is keep working on this with the Afghan people, with the Afghan government, which continues to work according to the Bonn agreement on a process toward a permanent government there. And we are going to support them in that effort.”

Afghanistan still faces challenges. “Yet,” said President George W. Bush, “we’re working every day to make sure that Afghanistan finds its future as a free and stable and peaceful nation.”