President George Bush pledged today to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, saying US forces are determined to capture him.
"He's not in charge of Afghanistan anymore," President Bush said. "He's not the parasite that's invaded the host. ... Now, he's maybe in control of a cave. He's on the run. We're going to get him running and keep him running and bring him to justice."
the President's news conference, held on his Texas ranch followed two days in which bin Laden held the media spotlight with a newly–released videotape.
Appearing with the war commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, Bush said the US military would stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to rid the nation of al–Qa'ida terrorists and ensure future political stability.
"The world must know that this administration will not blink in the face of danger and will not tire when it comes to completing the missions that we said we would do," President Bush said.
The US military has 70 Taliban and al–Qa'ida prisoners in custody and the Pentagon is making plans to send them to a Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but has not decided on procedures for military tribunals.
A draft of proposed Bush administration rules for the tribunals states that a unanimous vote of a tribunal's military officers would be required to impose a death sentence on a foreign terror suspect.
Civil rights groups and some members of Congress have said they were concerned about the fairness and openness of the tribunal process.
President Bush said discussions continue and no decisions have been made about the tribunal process, but that "our system will be more fair than the system of bin Laden and the Taliban. That is for certain."
Asked if he fears bin Laden's terrorist network is still targeting Americans, he said: "I hope 2002 is a year of peace, but I'm also realistic. I know full well that bin Laden and his cronies would like to harm America again."