President Bush 'Confident' We'll Get Bin Laden

Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Wednesday, March 01, 2006

President Bush 'Confident' We'll Get Bin Laden

Jerusalem ( - President Bush made a surprise stop in Afghanistan Wednesday on his way to a state visit in India and Pakistan.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said security precautions prevented the White House from announcing the stopover in advance.

Bush met with Afghani President Hamid Karzai, who thanked President Bush on his country's behalf.

"We owe a great, great deal in this country's rebuilding, peace, democracy, [and] strong steps toward the future to your support," Karzai said.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime that supported al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the September 11 terror attacks.

In a brief press conference following his meeting with Karzai, a reporter asked President Bush why Osama bin Laden is still on the loose.

President Bush said he is "confident" that bin Laden will be brought to justice. He said both Afghan and Pakistani forces are on the hunt for bin Laden and for those who plotted with him.

Bush said he will raise the issue with President Pervez Musharraf when he visits Pakistan.

"We're making progress in dismantling al Qaeda," Bush said. "Slowly but surely, we're bringing the people to justice, and the world is better for it as a result of our steady progress."

The BBC reported on Wednesday that Pakistani troops raided a suspected militant camp near the Afghan border, killing more than two dozen militants.

"It was a training camp of foreign miscreants," government administrator Sayed Zaheerul Islam was quoted as saying. He said the unidentified "militants" had "set up tents in the mountain area."

An arms cache exploded during the raid, which comes shortly before President Bush visits Pakistan for the first time.

US forces launched missile strikes in the same region in January.

Before leaving Afghanistan, President Bush also planned to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the U.S. Embassy, then meet with some of the 19,000 U.S. troops serving in the country.

On Tuesday, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and "remains a capable and resilient threat."

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