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Secretary of State Colin Powell
Interview with Peter Jennings of ABC News
Washington, D.C.
September 20, 2001

MR. JENNINGS: Mr. Secretary, given the history of Afghanistan, do you believe that attacking Afghanistan will do any good if the Taliban do not give up Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think what we have to do, Peter, is look at all of the tools at our disposal. Usama bin Laden and the al-Qaida organization is not just in Afghanistan; it's all over the world. So we're going to go after it all over the world. And the weapons we will use include information warfare, financial warfare.

With respect to Afghanistan, we know that they have had camps there; that's where he has lived for a number of years, and I am sure that our military planners are looking at what targets might be appropriate to the kind of campaign that we are planning on running.

MR. JENNINGS: Do you believe that the Taliban has the authority and the power to give him up or expel him from the country?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I think they do. I mean, he is very close to the Taliban, and it's been something of a relationship of -- a very tightly intertwined relationship. But my understanding and my belief is that they have the power to find him, and all of his lieutenants, and turn them over once they realize it's in their interest to do so.

MR. JENNINGS: Must Usama bin Laden be returned to the US justice system, or would the United States be satisfied to see him put on trial somewhere else?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think that's a step or two down the road. I think that there are many ways he can brought to justice. US justice is one form. But there are other forms of justice, and there are other nations that might play a role. Let's see if we can get him out first.

MR. JENNINGS: You have said that any nation which supports or harbors terrorists must be punished. Saudis have been involved in these acts in some cases and in financing these acts. What do you do about Saudi Arabia?

SECRETARY POWELL: There's a difference between Saudis being involved, and the Saudi Government. The Saudi Government has been very supportive. And they have pledged full cooperation to root out terrorism. So we look forward to working closely with the Saudis.

MR. JENNINGS: Do you believe that United States policy in the Middle East and further to the east, in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India has anything to do with the violence?

SECRETARY POWELL: This is a man who has a hatred of western values and ideals, and he manifests that hatred against the United States of America. So if there was no Middle East peace problem right now and we had solved all of that, there would still be an Usama bin Laden and an al-Qaida attacking US interests and our friends' interests.

MR. JENNINGS: The Secretary of State a little while ago.

END