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US warplanes launch new strikes on suspected terrorists' hideouts.

US warplanes renewed strikes against suspected terrorist hide-outs in eastern Afghanistan, and Prime Minister Tony Blair said the war against the Taliban and al-Qaida had succeeded beyond anyone's dreams.

But leading US senators said suspicion was increasing that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had fled to Pakistan and Mr Blair acknowledged that victory would not be complete until bin Laden and ousted Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar were captured.

Mr Blair, the most highprofile ally of US President George Bush, was on a visit to Islamabad, the Pakistan capital, that has taken on dimensions of shuttle diplomacy to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, which the US-led coalition fears could disrupt the war in Afghanistan.

The premier, who was meeting President General Pervez Musharraf, told a news conference the military campaign launched after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington "had been very substantially successful."

"We have effectively shut down the a-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan, " Mr Blair said.

Camps where thousands of men were training to spread death and mayhem around the world "are now shut down.

Those people are no longer being trained in terror. Many of those people have been captured or killed, " he said.

He said representatives of Afghan women he met before his news conference were filled with "joy" at the fall of the Taliban, the radical Islamic militia who barred women from education and the work force and beat them if they appeared in public without being covered from head to toe.

Mr Blair said: "The best weapon against the extremists ultimately will be some political stability, because then the voice of the people will be heard."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2002
Words:275
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