Pentagon: Covert Force Hunts Hussein, bin Laden

(New York Times) - Tom Shanker and Eric Schmitt Gen. John Abizaid, who commands all American forces in the strategic crescent from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, decided over the summer to create a covert commando force - Task Force 121 - to hunt Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and key terrorists throughout the region, according to Pentagon and military officials. The new Special Operations organization is designed to act with greater speed on intelligence tips about "high-value targets" and not be contained within the borders where American conventional forces are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military officers say the new force was given a broader, regional mission. "Capturing Saddam Hussein or killing him would be very important," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week in Washington. "So we do need to catch him and I think we will." "The fact that he's alive is unhelpful," Rumsfeld said.

2003-11-07 00:00:00

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