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[] IHT 18.10.01: Arabic Network Presses Rumsfeld,
International Herald Tribune
October 18, 2001

Arabic Network Presses Rumsfeld 

By The Associated Press 

WASHINGTON--Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Al Jazeera television that the air strikes over Afghanistan were aimed at terrorists, not the Afghan people.

He was the second Bush administration official to attempt to explain the bombing to viewers of the Arabic-language news network. The national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was interviewed on the network earlier in the week.

"This effort is not against the Afghanistan people; it's not against any race or any religion," Mr. Rumsfeld said, according to a transcript issued by the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Mr. Rumsfeld was pressed during the interview Tuesday about the U.S.-led military campaign. In response, he said it was "progressing in an orderly way, in a measured way."

"We've taken our time, and we have been very careful in selecting targets," the secretary said, adding later that he regrets civilian casualties.

Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, has emerged as a key opinion-maker among Arabs because of its independent editorial policy, a rarity in the region.

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