Day of Terror Unfolds in Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya
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KWAME HOLMAN: In Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO troops have been fighting a resurgent Taliban, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld today thanked U.S. forces for their efforts.
DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. Secretary of Defense: Thanks to the coalition forces, to you, all of you.
KWAME HOLMAN: U.S., Canadian and European troops have been involved in increasingly intense fighting with Taliban guerillas. Six British soldiers have been killed in fighting in southern Afghanistan over the past month.
At a news conference in Kabul, Rumsfeld and Afghan President Karzai were peppered with questions about whether the allies were losing the initiative against the Taliban.
DONALD RUMSFELD: I think, if you look at the number of terrorists, and Taliban, and al-Qaida that are being killed every month, it would be hard for them to say that the coalition forces and the Afghan security forces were losing.
HAMID KARZAI, President of Afghanistan: Let me add something to this. Now, there may be attacks; there may be increases in the number of incidents and attacks; but the winning party is clear. The winning party is the Afghan nation and the international coalition.
We will continue to suffer at the hands of terrorism, as they would not want us to succeed further or as they would want us to suffer as we move forward, because they’re being defeated. Their defeat is certain.
What we are trying to achieve is to make that sooner for us and for the rest of the world. So the war against terrorism is not losing. It has won already; the remnants are there that we must clear out.
KWAME HOLMAN: In Iraq, insurgent attacks and sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni fighters continued from Kirkuk in the north to Baghdad. Another 50 people were added to the death toll today in car bombings and shootouts.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, speaking today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the security crackdown in Baghdad was not working.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq: It has not produced the results they expected so far. The plan is being reviewed. And adjustments will be made. No, it has not performed to the level that was expected.
KWAME HOLMAN: And on Russian television today, pictures from the charred death scene where the country’s most-wanted terrorist reportedly was killed yesterday.
Russian newspapers said today that Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basayev was killed in an elaborately planned anti-terrorist operation in Ingushetia, a republic bordering breakaway Chechnya.
Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school massacre in 2004, among other alleged terrorist attacks.
Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, hailed the death of Basayev, but they also said they expected the 15-year-long Chechen war to continue.