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Bush: US Hunt Will for al-Qaida Terrorists - 2001-10-12


President Bush says U-S military strikes in Afghanistan will continue for "as long as it takes" to bring suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network to justice.

In a White House news conference (Thursday), the president said he did not know whether the suspected terrorist leader was dead or alive, but added that six days of air strikes have put the terrorists "on the run." Mr. Bush promised the United States and its allies will prevail.

However, he also offered Afghanistan's Taleban rulers the possibility of relief against continuing punishment. Mr. Bush said he would reconsider the military offensive being waged inside Afghanistan, if the Taleban immediately hands over the Saudi dissident and leaders of his terror network.

Mr. Bush also said al-Qaida locations inside Afghanistan are the primary focus in the war on terrorism, and added he would continue to seek international cooperation if the hunt for al-Qaida terrorists crosses other borders.

The president again stressed that the effort to destroy terrorism around the world has nothing to do with differences of religious beliefs.

The president said nations that the United States believes sponsor of terrorism might avoid being targeted by the international coalition by changing their ways, but it would take more than just promises to satisfy him.

He also said the United States should not play favorites among factions vying for power in Afghanistan but should seek a government that includes all parties. Mr. Bush said he believes the United Nations could provide the framework necessary to create such conditions.

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