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Osama will be brought to justice: Bush
March 01, 2006 17:11 IST
Last Updated: March 01, 2006 17:38 IST
US President George W Bush said during his first visit to Afghanistan Wednesday that he was confident Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden would be brought to justice.
"I am confident he will be brought to justice," he told reporters at a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai when asked about the hunt for bin Laden.
"We have got US forces on the hunt for not only bin Laden, but anybody who plots and plans with bin Laden," he said adding, Afghan and Pakistani forces were also hunting the Al Qaeda chief.
Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, blamed for some of the world's worst terror attacks, was being dismantled, Bush said.
"We are making progress at dismantling Al Qaeda. Slowly and surely we are bringing the people to justice and the world is better for it as a result of our steady progress," he said.
There was a common alliance against Islamic extremists "aimed at routing out people who are evil-doers, people who have hijacked a great religion and kill innocent people in the name of that religion," he said.
The United States led the military operation that toppled the hardline Taliban regime four years ago after they failed to hand over bin Laden following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
A US-led coalition force of about 20,000 troops is based in southern and eastern Afghanistan to hunt down Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, including bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
About 80,000 Pakistani troops are also stationed along the border with Afghanistan to hunt militants.
The bulk of the coalition force in Afghanistan is American. More than 130 US troops have been killed in hostile action in Afghanistan, seven of them in 2006.
Washington is due to cut the number of its troops in the coalition by around 3,000 in the coming months as a separate North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led force moves into the south, initially expanding to number about 16,000.
US officials have stressed however that the reduction would not affect the country's commitment to counter-insurgency operations.