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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Defense Secretary Daily Briefing

Aired February 26, 2002 - 13:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to take you right to the Pentagon, where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is beginning his daily briefing.

Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Many countries were attacked by terrorists before September 11. Some have been attacked or endangered since September 11. And any could be attacked tomorrow.

In short, the war on terrorism is truly a global struggle, and it affects all nations.

After September 11, many countries assembled to fight terrorism. Many dozens of countries have contributed in a variety of ways, all important: military, diplomatic, economic, financial.

Some have helped openly; others have helped less openly. Many leaders courageously spoke out against terrors; many nations have provided troops, materiel, humanitarian aid, information, overflight and basing privilege. The United States has been joined by not just its traditional allies in the struggle against terror, but by many countries that are not normally part of such alliances.

In the Afghanistan effort alone, coalition partners are contributing something in the neighborhood of 6,000 troops to Operation Enduring Freedom and to the International Security Assistance Force. By comparison, U.S. forces in Afghanistan now total under 5,000, so there are more ISAF and coalition forces from other countries in Afghanistan than there are U.S. forces.

As I mentioned last Thursday, a member of the Australian special forces was killed and other coalition troops have been seriously wounded. These are fine men and women who are putting their lives on the line to defend freedom.

Generally, I've not spoken in detail about the contributions of other nations that are supporting the war on terrorism, preferring to let them describe for themselves the roles that they are playing. But I do think that all of these countries deserve credit for their substantial and valuable contributions. A number of coalition partners have offered information that they are comfortable having us make public, and here's a sample of some of the things that they're doing in this war on terror. Please keep in mind that, for the sake of time, this is only a very partial list and it's not possible to mention every conceivable contribution by dozens and dozens of countries. Although, I believe there is a handout that's going to be made that will go into considerably more detail.

And I see up here we have the groupings of various countries that are involved. That's not the chart I was looking at the other day that separated out the kinds of activities, ground forces from others, but apparently that was...

STAFF: It will become clear in the fact sheet.

RUMSFELD: It will become clear in the fact sheet, good.

For example, 12 countries have contributed more than 2,800 personnel to ground operations in the campaign; eight countries contributed more than 1,500 people to air operations; eight countries contributed more than 13,000 people to naval operations; and some eight countries contributed 350-plus people to civil operations in Afghanistan.

Australia, for example, has special operations forces in Afghanistan performing the full spectrum of special operations missions.

Bahrain has a frigate and associated personnel supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the region.

Canada has more than 2,200 personnel in the region: land, air and naval people. Canada's Light Infantry Battle Group has deployed nearly 700 personnel and 12 armored reconnaissance vehicles to Kandahar for security and combat operations.

The Czech Republic has over 250 people deployed to Camp Doha in Kuwait to perform local training and management support in the region.

Great Britain has deployed a naval task force, provided aircraft throughout the region, participated in Tomahawk missile operations, cleared mines in Afghanistan and is, of course, leading the 16-country International Security Assistance Force.

Italy provided the carrier battle group to support combat operations in the North Arabian Sea, in all, deploying more than 13 percent of their entire naval forces for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Jordan, as you have heard, established a hospital in Mazar. The Jordanian hospital has already helped some 18,000...

PHILLIPS: As we continue to follow Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his Pentagon briefing...

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