Secretary of State Colin Powell
Interview with Jane Clayson on CBS's The Early Show
Washington, D.C.
October 10, 2001
6:35 A.M. EDT

QUESTION: Good morning, Secretary Powell.

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Jane.

QUESTION: What is the purpose of your trip?

SECRETARY POWELL: I will be going out to consult with the leaders in both Pakistan and India. Both of them have been very forthcoming in terms of the support they have given to us in this campaign against terrorism. Pakistan is on the front lines of it, really, because of their proximity to Afghanistan, and President Musharraf has done quite a number of very, very important things. The Indians have also been very forthcoming with the support that they have given.

So I want to go consult with the leaders in the region, get their assessment, and let them know of American support for their efforts and American interest in the issues that affect those two very, very important countries on the subcontinent.

QUESTION: You say they have been forthcoming with support. But, as you know, India and Pakistan have long been at odds. Are you concerned that India might try to take advantage of the situation and ignite a conflict while the world is distracted?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think that will be the case. In fact, we have been in touch with both governments, and they both realize the volatile nature of this situation and I think both of them understand this is not the time for provocative action, which would cause the situation in the region to become unstable. I am pleased that the two leaders spoke to each other within the past few days, and we are in touch with the foreign ministry officials in both countries as well.

QUESTION: Outside of India and Pakistan, our Arab allies, Secretary Powell, have been relatively silent during these air strikes. How would you characterize their level of support of our actions this morning?

SECRETARY POWELL: They have been very supportive. President Hosni Mubarak made a positive statement yesterday. Our friends in the Gulf region have been supportive in terms of providing access and other facilities that we needed, and were very responsive to our requests.

They all have internal domestic situations that they have to keep very much in mind, but we are very satisfied with the level of support we have received from friends not only in the Persian Gulf area but throughout that part of the world and, frankly, our friends and allies throughout the world. It is a remarkable coalition that President Bush has been able to put together.

QUESTION: But as we expand this military operation to other states that harbor terrorists, how do you hold together that coalition then?

SECRETARY POWELL: The coalition is holding together very well right now, and I think what is important is that the coalition recognize, as did President Bush from the very beginning, that this is not just a campaign against al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden; it is a campaign against terrorism, terrorism that affects nations and civilizations and cultures all around the world. So all of us have an interest in participating in a campaign that goes against terrorism wherever it is found. That is the nature of this coalition we are putting together, the nature of its mission, and I am very pleased that the world is responding to it.

QUESTION: Late yesterday, one of Usama bin Laden's lieutenants appeared on Persian Gulf television to praise the September 11th attacks and to threaten more of the same. What was your response, Secretary Powell, to his defiance?

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not surprised that they would threaten more of the same. They have always been planning more of the same, and that's why we are going after them. But for anybody to take credit for the murder of over 6,000 innocent citizens from 80 countries, that is outrageous. It is despicable. It is evil. It represents no faith, no religion, and the whole world should condemn that kind of statement, those sorts of claims. It just put the lie to the nature of the al-Qaida network. They are terrorists. They are murders. They believe in no faith other than power and their own irrational actions.

QUESTION: You have formally complained about al Jazeera, the station that broadcast those statements. Was there a specific concern about what he said?

SECRETARY POWELL: I didn't hear his overall statement. We have raised with Qatari authorities some of our concerns with respect to al Jazeera. Al Jazeera covers a large part of the Arab world and it is an important station. I have appeared on it. I have given an interview on al Jazeera and I would hope to do so again in the future.

Our concern, however, is that they give an undue amount of time and attention to some of the most vitriolic, irresponsible kinds of statements, and we have called that to the attention of the authorities in Qatar, and others nations have as well.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld told Dan Rather last night, Secretary Powell, that he would be very surprised if the Taliban stays in power in Afghanistan. Is it the Administration's policy at this point to replace the Taliban dictatorship?

SECRETARY POWELL: At this point, we would like to see leadership arise in Afghanistan which represents the interests of all the Afghani people. The Taliban regime has taken action in being in concert with al-Qaida that now puts them at risk of survival because they are not taking care of their people. They are oppressing their people. They are not even getting food to their people. The United States is the biggest food donor to the people of Afghanistan.

And so the world is closing off routes of opportunity for the Taliban to join the world that's moving forward, and if the regime collapses as a result of it, it is their own fault.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Colin Powell, our best to you, sir, as you move forward. Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Jane.