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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
US 'still thinking' on Iraq
Paul Wolfowitz visits US troops at Bagram air base
Wolfowitz is keeping up Washington's pressure on Saddam
A top United States defence official has said Washington has yet to decide how to deal with Saddam Hussein.

But Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz said that the Iraqi leader was too dangerous a threat to ignore and would have to be tackled.


September 11 is nothing compared to what chemical, biological and nuclear weapons could do

Paul Wolfowitz

"September 11 is nothing compared to what chemical, biological and nuclear weapons could do," he told reporters during a brief visit to American troops at Bagram air base in Afghanistan on Monday.

Mr Wolfowitz also said that al-Qaeda and Taleban militants in Afghanistan had not been completely defeated and he warned it would take time.

"We will be here as long as it takes to do the job," he said.

The US deputy defence secretary also justified a recent air attack in Uruzgan province which reportedly caused 48 civilian deaths.

"We have no regrets about going in after bad guys and there were some there," he said. However, he added that America always regretted civilian losses.

Turkish role

The defence official recalled warnings by US President George W Bush about the need to confront the Iraqi regime.

"We are not going to wait forever to solve it," he said.

"The president has said that it is too dangerous [a situation] to leave alone and too dangerous to wait for them to hit us," he said.

Mr Wolfowitz is expected to discuss Iraq when he returns to Turkey later on Monday.

During a visit to Turkey's largest city Istanbul at the weekend, he ruled out the prospect of Washington's support for the creation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq.

Such a state would destabilise the region and prove unacceptable to the US, he said.

Turkey, which has a substantial Kurdish minority of its own, was involved in a long war with separatist rebels in the 1980s and 1990s.

There is intense speculation that the US is to mount a military attack on Saddam and it already uses the Turkish base at Incirlik to enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

However BBC correspondents say that the US is a long way off convincing Ankara that a military campaign in Iraq is something it should support.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Adams
"A full scale invasion is thought to be the most likely option"
Turkish reporter Sami Kohen, Milliyet newspaper
"There is no sympathy in Turkey for the Saddam regime"

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26 Sep 01 | Americas
11 Jul 02 | UK Politics
05 Jul 02 | Americas
20 Jun 02 | South Asia
02 Jul 02 | South Asia
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