- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2001

Taliban forces in the besieged northern Afghan enclave of Kunduz have agreed to surrender, their commander said early today.
Mullah Faizal told reporters in Mazar-e-Sharif, which is under Northern Alliance control, that talks with alliance leaders yielded a general agreement for Taliban surrender, although some details were still being worked out.
Mullah Faizal said all the Taliban forces in the city, Afghans and foreigners alike, were under his control and that all would give themselves up.
"There will be peace," he told a Reuters Television correspondent, one of several reporters allowed into the meeting room. "Nothing [violent] will happen" in Kunduz, the last major Taliban-held city in northern Afghanistan.
Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostum told reporters at the talks that surrenders would be accepted "without a fight" and that the battle for the city was over. The Taliban still controls about one-quarter of Afghanistan in the south, around its Kandahar stronghold.
Meanwhile yesterday, U.S. officials were saying that the war would continue even after the death or capture of Osama bin Laden.
"This is not looking for one individual," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers told reporters in Belgium. "If bin Laden were to show up today, or to be pronounced dead or in captivity today, that would not end this particular part of the war."
Gen. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the object of the war is to get the entire leadership of al Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the September 11 attacks.
The four-star general, in Europe for a NATO meeting, said that job would include targeting "several tens of leadership personnel that we need to bring to justice. Bin Laden is just one of those."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday he would prefer to see bin Laden dead.
Asked by CBS News if he cares whether bin Laden is stopped "dead or alive," Mr. Rumsfeld said: "I don't know if it's politically correct to say you'd prefer the former, but I guess I'd prefer the former myself, but I don't think we have much choice in it anyway."
Mr. Rumsfeld's remarks were the first time a senior Bush administration official has said publicly that bin Laden should be killed rather than captured and tried, although he indicated that this was a personal preference.
He said during a visit to special operations troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., that the president's policy on bin Laden is "dead or alive."
"And you know, I have my personal preference, but that's not a government position," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "That's a personal position."
Mr. Rumsfeld said the hunt for bin Laden and other terrorists is progressing. "They keep cutting and bobbing and dodging and weaving, but we keep looking," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
Also yesterday, the Pentagon announced that Navy ships are searching vessels in the region as part of the search for terrorists who may try to flee their crumbling sanctuary in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon that Navy forces in the region have long been searching merchant ships for contraband.
"As part of our right of self-defense, we, as part of the international community, have the authority and the ability to track and, in those cases where we're sure or we have indications that there are either contraband or criminals aboard ship, the opportunity to interdict those ships," Gen. Pace said.
As Taliban territory decreases, there are signs terrorists might flee the country, he said.
"One way they might try to flee is by ship, so we're making sure we have the assets in place to handle that if it happens," he said.
During the visit to Army troops that will likely be used in the final phase of military operations in Afghanistan, Mr. Rumsfeld told a group of soldiers that U.S. Special Forces commandos helped U.S. aerial bombing "dramatically" by providing targeting information.
He said more than a dozen "A-teams" currently are working on the ground. An A-Team, for Special Forces Operational Detachment-A, is usually made up of 12 Green Berets.
"The air war enabled the ground war to succeed, and for those Northern Alliance people and for the Pashtun tribes in the south, to actually have that kind of success. And it turned when we had Special Forces down there to help with the targeting. And God bless them for doing it," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
The hunt for bin Laden and other terrorist leaders will require searching houses and villages and caves and in mountains and they may escape the country, Mr. Rumsfeld said.
"But we'll find them there," he said. "This is a very serious problem that our country faces where 4,000 Americans were killed by terrorist attack, and there are threats of additional terrorist attacks coming in every day. And what we need to do is recognize that you cannot defend against terrorists. You simply must go after them. You have to find them where they are and root them out and stop them."
Gen. Myers said the conflict in Afghanistan has made it harder for al Qaeda to plan terrorist attacks.
"It is difficult to get an accurate position on bin Laden," he said. "We know we are making it very hard for him to plan future terrorist operations because he is kept pretty much on the run. He doesn't spend more than one night in one place, we don't think."
Mr. Rumsfeld said a small Army helicopter made a hard landing in Afghanistan, injuring its crew. Crew members suffered broken bones and back sprains and were rescued, he said.
At the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz rejected the appeal of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader, that the United States should forget about the September 11 attacks.
"I can assure them we will not forget about September 11th," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "We are moving on, and I think before long, the world will forget about the Taliban."
Mr. Rumsfeld also dismissed Mullah Omar's claim that the Taliban does not know the location of bin Laden.
Mr. Wolfowitz said reports from the Middle East indicating bin Laden has ordered that he not be taken alive are a sign that "this is a man on the run."
"This is a man who is being deserted by the same people who sheltered him not so long ago, this is a man with a price on his head any number of people who were associated with him in the past are trying to say they had nothing to do with him," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "I don't think any of that is good for his future prospects."
Gen. Pace also said the Pentagon's newest unmanned aerial vehicle, the developmental Global Hawk surveillance drone, is being used in Afghanistan.
"It is flying and it will be part of our ability to collect information and intelligence," Gen. Pace said.


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