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Top U-S General Says bin Laden on the run; Vows Unrelenting Pursuit - 2001-11-21


America's top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, says Osama bin Laden is on the run and says Washington will pursue him wherever he goes.

Speaking today (Wednesday) at NATO headquarters in Brussels, General Myers said the United States has so far not been able to locate the world's number-one fugitive. But he said constant pressure by U-S-led forces in Afghanistan is making it difficult for the reputed terrorist mastermind to carry out further attacks.

Earlier, the commander of U-S forces in Afghanistan, Army General Tommy Franks, said he could not predict how long it will take to capture the last two remaining Taleban strongholds -- the Afghan cities of Kunduz in the north and Kandahar in the south. Both cities are now under siege by anti-Taleban forces.

In related developments, the Pentagon says U-S naval forces in the Arabian Sea have stepped up patrols to ensure that neither Osama bin Laden nor his al-Qaida terrorist followers escape the region by sea. A Pentagon spokesman said the search operation off the coast of Pakistan began late Tuesday.

The Pentagon also said a U-S helicopter crash-landed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, injuring four crew members. But authorities say the crash was not caused by hostile fire.

U-S defense officials also said Tuesday that as many as 15-hundred Marines are likely to be sent into Afghanistan to join the hunt for al-Qaida leaders. The United States has offered a 25-million dollar reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden or information leading to his capture.

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