Next Phase of the War Contrasts Afghanistan Campaign

ByABC News

Dec. 19, 2001 -- The next phase of the United States' war on terrorism will not resemble the bombing campaign in Afghanistan but will focus on flushing out terrorists in places such as Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and the Philippines — without long-term involvement of the U.S. military.

Unlike Afghanistan, confirmed terrorist havens such Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and the Philippines do not have clear military targets. To continue the war on terrorism, U.S. officials will rely increasingly on insiders within those countries to target terrorist groups.

"I would like to create a world that is inhospitable for terrorists and for nations that harbor terrorists," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Sources have told ABCNEWS' Martha Raddatz that U.S. officials plan to send a small number of forces into Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and the Philippines to train potential infiltrators who could help authorities locate and raid terrorist organizations hiding in their countries.

The U.S. forces, would consist of CIA agents and contractors, and would advise, train and provide intelligence and technical assistance to local officials and help them in "small, precise, plucking operations," sources said.

"In a few cases, it means either covert operations, hunting down and killing or imprisoning the people involved with very quiet, covert raids," said ABCNEWS military analyst Tony Cordesman.

Attacks in Yemen Begin

The next phase of the war is already under way in some of these countries. CIA officers have visited Somalia three times in the last three weeks. Sources also say unmanned drones and other surveillance aircraft are being offered and already being used in some countries.

In addition, on Tuesday, Yemen indicated its cooperation in the war on terrorism when Yemeni forces attacked suspected Osama bin Laden supporters for the first time. Government officials said Yemeni forces trained and equipped by the United States fired on the hideouts of suspected members of bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

U.S. forces were not involved in the attacks. Yemeni government officials said tanks, helicopters and artillery pounded mountain villages andhillsides in the country's first known military operation against terrorist groups since the Sept. 11 attacks. Sources told The Associated Press that four tribesmen and eight soldiers were killed. But security officials in Yemen said the five suspects apparently were able to hide or escape the barrage and special troops.

Bin Laden is said to have strong ties to Yemen, the birthplace of his father and where the USS Cole was attacked during a refueling stop last year allegedly by his terrorist organization. U.S. officials are interrogating detained al Qaeda soldiers in Afghanistan not only about the Sept. 11 attacks but also the USS Cole bombing.

Iraq Remains a Potential Target

In Somalia, which has been cited as a potential haven for bin Laden if he has fled Afghanistan, a U.S. diplomat arrived in Mogadishu to talk to government leaders. U.S. officials have refused to directly link the visit to the war on terrorism.

Iraq remains the most mentioned potential target in the next phase of the war on terrorism. But sources say Secretary of State Colin Powell is cautioning any move against Iraq for now because it may fracture the coalition of forces fighting bin Laden and the al Qaeda. That may change, sources say if there is irrefutable evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is gathering and producing weapons of mass destruction.

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