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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 23:05 GMT 00:05 UK
US aims beyond Bin Laden
Anti-American demonstration
Many Pakistanis oppose US involvement in Afghanistan
The United States has indicated that the surrender of Osama Bin Laden would not be enough to avert a military strike against terrorism.


If Bin Laden were not there the organisation would continue doing what it's been doing. So clearly the problem is much bigger than Bin Laden

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

The US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that while Bin Laden's capture would be welcome, it would not deal with those who shelter terrorists or the organisation which he belonged to.

He said: "Clearly you begin on a journey with one step, and he would be one step."

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Afghanistan’s neighbours: Regional fears

His remarks on US television came as Washington waited for the Taleban authorities in Afghanistan to decide whether to extradite Bin Laden, who is the prime suspect for the suicide plane attacks last week on New York and the Pentagon.

Later the United Nations Security Council urged the Taleban to hand over Bin Laden "immediately and unconditionally" in accordance with a UN resolution passed in December last year.

Dead or alive

Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said the decision on Saudi-born dissident Bin Laden would be made by religious leaders from all over the country, who have been gathering in Kabul.

President Bush has said the United States wants Bin Laden dead or alive for his alleged role in organising the attacks.

In other developments:

  • The Palestinians and Israelis take steps to reduce violence, under pressure from the US as it tries to build an international coalition against terrorism

  • America observes a minute's silence at precisely 0848EDT (1248 GMT), when the first plane struck the World Trade Center a week ago

  • Thousands of people pour out of Afghanistan amid fears of US strikes, defying border closures

  • Two more people in the United States are detained as "material witnesses", taking the number of people detained for questioning in the investigation so far to 49

  • According to the latest figures, 5,422 people are still missing in New York and 201 are confirmed dead, 135 of whom have been identified

A Pakistan Government official told the AP news agency on Tuesday that the Taleban had in talks with their envoys discussed conditions for extraditing Bin Laden, including international recognition of the Taleban government and lifting of UN sanctions.

But these demands have been made before, and at the moment Taleban leaders are talking more about a possible holy war against the US if attacked.

Bin Laden and the Taleban have denied any involvement in the US attacks on New York and the Pentagon a week ago.

Coalition-building

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the international coalition to fight terrorism was coming together.


I am pleased that the coalition is coming together, I think everybody recognises that this challenge is one that went far beyond America

Colin Powell

French President Jacques Chirac said as he met Mr Bush for talks in Washington that his country was determined to support the war on what he called the absolute evil of terrorism.

President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation will see him on Wednesday. Ms Megawati has already pledged to join the battle against terrorism.

And British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who says that the United Kingdom stands "shoulder to shoulder" with America following the attacks, visits on Thursday.

High-level meetings are also planned with German, Italian, EU, South Korean, Chinese, Russian and Saudi Arabian officials.

Pakistan warning

The Taleban move to consider Bin Laden's extradition was announced after talks between Pakistani officials and Mullah Omar in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

The Pakistan delegation is understood to have warned that Bin Laden will have to be handed over within three days if US military strikes are to be averted.

Pakistan has already pledged to provide the US with support and, although the government will not spell out exactly what this means, Mr Sattar said he could not rule out the idea of basing foreign troops in Pakistan if the delegation failed.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott in Islamabad
"Many Afghans are anticipating the worst"
The BBC's Catherine Davis in Afghanistan
says anti-Taleban opposition forces are eager to help any US operation
The BBC's George Arney
reveals that the US had made plans for a major assault on Afghanistan before the WTC attacks
Foreign affairs spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan
explains Pakistan's reasons for cooperating with the US
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