The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
September 29, 2006

Fact Sheet: Afghanistan and Pakistan: Strong Allies in the War on Terror

      President Discusses Global War on Terror
      In Focus: National Security

Today, President Bush Spoke About The Struggle Between Moderation And Extremism That Is Unfolding Across The Broader Middle East.  Terrorists and extremists are fighting to overthrow moderate governments in the region, take control of countries, and use them as bases from which to attack America and impose their hateful ideology on millions.  Moderate leaders in the broader Middle East are standing against these extremists, working to secure a future of peace and freedom for their region and the world. 

We Will Continue Working With Afghanistan’s Government To Defeat Our Common Enemies – And Help The Afghan People Build A Free Nation That Will Never Again Oppress Them Or Be A Safe Haven For Terrorists

In Afghanistan, We Are Listening To The Advice Of President Karzai And Our Commanders On The Ground.  Following the shifting arguments of critics would result in a strategy that is inconsistent and ineffective. 

After 9/11, America Gave The Leaders Of The Taliban A Choice: Hand Over The Terrorists Or Share In The Terrorists' Fate.  The Taliban regime chose unwisely, so within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, our Coalition launched Operation Enduring Freedom.  By December 2001, the Taliban regime had been removed from power, hundreds of terrorists had been captured or killed, and the terrorist camps where the enemy planned the 9/11 attacks were shut down.

The Liberation Of Afghanistan Was Only The Beginning Of Our Mission In That Country.  We learned the lesson of the 1980s, when the United States had helped the Afghan people drive the Soviet Red Army from Kabul and then left the Afghans to fend for themselves.  The Taliban came to power and provided a sanctuary for bin Laden and al Qaeda, and we paid the price when those terrorists struck our Nation and killed nearly 3,000 people in our midst. 

The Afghan Army And Police Are Fighting Alongside A Coalition Of Nations.  At this moment, 21,000 American troops and more than 20,000 personnel from 40 countries are deployed in Afghanistan.  Since taking over the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in the summer of 2003, NATO has expanded it from a small force that was operating only in Kabul into a robust force that has taken responsibility for security in nearly 60 percent of the country. 

We Are Working To Improve Quality Of Life For Local Afghans And To Help Extend The Authority Of The Central Government To Distant Areas Of The Country.  Since the liberation of Afghanistan, the U.S. has provided more than $4.5 billion for reconstruction throughout the country – including electricity, irrigation, water and sanitation, and other necessities.  

In Pakistan, President Musharraf Joined The Fight Against The Terrorists, And America Is Grateful For His Leadership

After 9/11, President Musharraf Was Faced With A Choice: Turn A Blind Eye And Leave His People Hostage To The Terrorists Or Join The Free World In Fighting The Terrorists.  Within two days of the attack, the Pakistani government committed itself to stop al Qaeda operatives at its border, share intelligence on terrorist activities and movements, and break off all ties with the Taliban government if it refused to hand over bin Laden and the al Qaeda leadership.

President Musharraf's Courageous Choice To Join The Struggle Against Extremism Has Saved American Lives.  His government has helped capture or kill many senior terrorist leaders.  For example, Pakistani forces helped capture Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al Shibh, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. 

Were It Not For Information Gained From Terrorists Captured With Pakistan's Help, Our Intelligence Community Believes Al Qaeda And Its Allies Would Have Succeeded In Launching Another Attack Against The U.S.  The CIA's questioning of these and other suspected terrorists provided information that helped us break up a cell of Southeast Asian terrorist operatives groomed for attacks inside the U.S., disrupt an al-Qaeda operation to develop anthrax for terrorist attacks, stop a planned strike on a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, prevent a planned attack on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, and foil a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow Airport and London's Canary Wharf. 

We Are Helping President Musharraf's Government Establish Stronger Control Over The Border Between Afghanistan And Pakistan.  President Musharraf understands that terrorists hide in remote regions and travel back and forth across this border.  We are:

America Is Also Supporting President Musharraf As He Takes Steps To Build A Modern And Moderate Nation, And Hold Free And Fair Elections Next Year.  President Musharraf has a clear vision for his country as a nation growing in freedom and prosperity and peace, and as he stands against the terrorists and for the free future of his country, America will stand with him.

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