U.S. stays focused on Afghan mission

Friday, November 16, 2001

The news from Afghanistan has been riveting this week. With well-aimed airstrikes plus a revitalized opposition force and special-ops teams on the ground, the Taliban forces are falling apart. At times, U.S.-led gains have occurred at such a rapid pace that not even around-the-clock television coverage could keep up.

There are tremendous positives in the latest news from the war, some of which are less obvious than the strategic military gains. For example, the focused handling of the military and diplomatic objectives have demonstrated the ability of the Bush Cabinet to avoid the distractions of those who give free advice -- and give it freely. Many of the critics of how the situation in Afghanistan was being handled have been silenced -- or at least muted -- by the events of this week.

And with the liberation of Kabul, Americans and the rest of the world can see for themselves that the city was not destroyed by U.S. bombing, as the Taliban would have had us believe.

Finally, it is important to understand that the victories in Afghanistan have not destroyed terrorism. Indeed, the ultimate success of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and his cohorts will not end terrorism. But it is clear that the deliberate actions led by the United States against those who promote terrorism under the protection of a compliant national regime have underscored the message: Terrorists will not be tolerated, and neither will those who protect them.

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