Pentagon: Afghan lab may have produced anthrax
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon officials confirmed Monday that U.S. troops found a laboratory near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that could have been used in the production of anthrax.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the troops found some but not all of the equipment needed in the production of the potentially deadly bacteria. He said it looked as if someone had tried to destroy some of the equipment.
"There were no large quantities of anthrax you could see," Myers said. "They'll do the usual swabs and bring those back for analysis."
He said the troops did not find any of the precursor chemicals needed in the laboratory manufacturing of anthrax.
Myers would not speculate on whether the lab was still under construction.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said investigators have found traces of anthrax on swabs taken at some sites in Afghanistan.
"The caveat to that is, that they are such minute amounts that the anthrax could be naturally occurring," Rumsfeld said.
Rumsfeld and Myers said the equipment could have been used for other purposes but there were indications it was being used for the production of anthrax.
"We have so much evidence in writing of the desire to develop capabilities, chemical and biological capabilities, that the fact that it's dual-use is like saying a pistol is dual-use," Rumsfeld said. "It can shoot at a target or it can shoot at a person."
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