WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States' military success in Afghanistan does not indicate that a similar action in Iraq would succeed.
While acknowledging there may be terrorists in Iraq, the Bush administration's focus remains on Usama bin Laden and Afghanistan, Powell said in an interview published in The Washington Post's online edition late Thursday.
"They're two different countries with two different military capabilities," Powell told the Post. "They are so significantly different that you can't take the Afghan model and immediately apply it to Iraq."
Powell has argued against an early move against Iraq despite a strong push early on from the Pentagon leadership to consider striking Baghdad as part of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism. Bin Laden, the United States' top suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks, is believed to have members of his terrorist organization, Al Qaeda, operating in Iraq.
"Everybody is focusing on Iraq as if it is the only thing out there, or it is time for us to do something beyond what we are doing," Powell said in the interview. "There are lots of Al Qaeda cells around throughout the world that we're going after, and there are other countries that are of concern to us besides Iraq."