For Immediate Release
August 18, 2003
From President Bush's remarks on 8/14/03
Terrorist chief Hambali (or Riduan bin Isomuddin) - a known killer who was a close associate of September 11th mastermind Khalid Shaykh Muhammad - has been captured. Hambali is a lethal terrorist who is suspected of planning major operations, including that which occurred in Bali, Indonesia, and other recent attacks.
Hambali is no longer a problem to those who love freedom, and neither are nearly two-thirds of known senior al Qaeda leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators who have been captured or have been killed.
Al Qaeda is still active, still recruiting, and still a threat. Its leaders and foot soldiers continue to plot against the American people. But every terrorist can be certain of this: we will hunt them down until they are no longer a threat to the American people.
Many who have served during Operation Enduring Freedom can be proud of helping to liberate Afghanistan from those who turned that country into a training camp for al Qaeda terrorists.
Afghanistan today is a friend of the United States. It is not a haven for America's terrorist enemies. As NATO assumes a leading role in keeping Afghanistan secure, we're helping with the reconstruction and the founding of a democratic government. New roads are being built and medical clinics are opening. Many young girls are going to school for the first time, thanks to the United States of America.
Iraq is part of the war on terror. Our coalition forces are still engaged in an essential mission there. We met the major combat objectives in Operation Iraqi Freedom by removing a regime that persecuted Iraqis, and supported terrorists. The regime was armed to threaten the peace of the world.