Bush Says Bin Laden Wanted Dead or Alive

ByABC News
September 17, 2001, 12:37 PM

Sept. 17 -- President Bush vowed to track down Omar bin Laden, the prime suspect in the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and reasserted his warning to any nation that shelters him.

Bush also had a warning for Americans: He said the war to stamp out terrorism would be long and could be costly and might be short on the kinds of operations and obvious victories that are seen in traditional wars.

The president spoke today at the Pentagon, after news broke that a meeting between a high-level Pakistani delegation and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia had failed to result in the terror suspect being turned over.

After a three hour meeting, the Taliban leadership said the decision would be left up to the country's council of Islamic clerics. The Pakistani delegation was expected to travel to the Afghani capital of Kabul for meetings with the clerics on Tuesday.

Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar announced the decision in a statement on Radio Shariat.

The Taliban, long supported by Pakistan, has provided a safe haven for bin Laden in recent years. They say he is a guest, and deny his alleged role in Tuesday's attacks as well as other events in which he is a suspect, such as the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Bush reiterated today that bin Laden is "the prime suspect" in Tuesday's attacks, in which hijacked planes slammed into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, where thousands are feared dead. Another hijacked airliner crashed in Pennsylvania, apparently after passengers overwhelmed the hijackers.

Bush, who on Sunday said there was "no question" that Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf wanted to cooperate with the United States, today said that Americans want bin Laden "dead or alive."

"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive."'

The president has said that multilateral cooperation would be necessary for the U.S. war on terrorism to be effective and some of Afghanistan's neighbors have expressed some willingness to help. Uzbekistan and India have both said it might be possible for the United States to use their territory to stage military operations against Afghanistan.

In other developments today:

Back To Work

Wall Street again was teaming with brokers, traders and investment bankers heading to work for the first time since the attack Tuesday.