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Saturday, 22 September, 2001, 05:00 GMT 06:00 UK
US resolute on Bin Laden hunt
US Air Force F/A-18 Hornet
The US military build-up is continuing
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has told the BBC that there is enough evidence to bring Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden before an American court for crimes against humanity.

Bush's demands to Taleban:
Hand over al-Qaida leaders to US
Release "unjustly imprisoned" foreign nationals
Close terrorist training camps and allow US inspection
Referring to indictments issued against Bin Laden before last week's attacks, Mr Powell said there was sufficient evidence for a trial.

The alternative, Mr Powell said, was a military campaign, but he said the action to be taken had yet to be decided.

Bin Laden's whereabouts are unknown, he said.

The attacks, which killed more than 6,000 people, have prompted the US to deploy troops and extra warplanes to within striking distance of Afghanistan, whose Taleban leaders have refused to hand over Bin Laden.

President George W Bush has said that Afghanistan must expel all suspects immediately or "share in their fate".

Our position is that if America has evidence and proof, they should produce it

Abdul Salam Zaeef
Taleban ambassador to Pakistan

The US administration has rejected Taleban calls for proof that Bin Laden was responsible for the suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

The Taleban ambassador to Pakistan has said Bin Laden will never be handed over - he said such a move would be an "insult to Islam".

But there have been more expressions of support for the US campaign.

Russia offered to share intelligence information, while Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said Beijing and Washington would continue co-operation against terrorism begun before the attacks.

In other developments:

  • An opinion poll conducted after Mr Bush's speech to Congress on Thursday shows 90% of Americans support military action against those responsible for the attacks
    Pro-Taleban protesters in Pakistan
    Many in Pakistan remain opposed to US action against Afghanistan
  • The number of missing from the World Trade Center attack in New York rises to 6,333. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says it could take at least six months to clear the wreckage
  • Four die during pro-Taleban demonstrations in the Pakistani city of Karachi
  • Three men and a woman are arrested in Britain in connection with the attacks
  • The post-attack crisis and fears of a global recession push down share indexes, with losses on European markets, and in New York
  • EU heads of state meeting in Brussels say US retaliation would be legitimate and agree to a Europe-wide search and arrest warrant.
'Defending freedom'

Challenged to say whether the US was prepared to inflict civilian casualties, especially if it attacks targets in Afghanistan, Mr Powell said: "We will not go after the Afghan people, and whether we use economic sanctions, or military force, we will be very, very careful not to harm innocent people".

George W Bush
Bush: US "awakened to danger"
But he said that the war would last for years and may never reach an end.

"It is a campaign that will probably continue for as long as I can imagine," he said.

"You will always have to have police and intelligence organisations working this, for as long as there are people willing to take this kind of risk and cause this kind of damage."

In an address to both houses of Congress on Thursday evening, Mr Bush said the US had been "awakened to danger" and "called to defend freedom".

In his address, Mr Bush carefully explained who Washington thinks carried out the attacks, and how the government was planning to respond.

Humanitarian crisis

Aid agencies are gearing up to prevent a humanitarian disaster as thousands of Afghans flee their country in fear of US military action.

The agencies say some three million Afghans depend on food aid.

World Trade Center
The grim work at the World Trade Center could go on for six months
Afghans are pouring out of the cities, heading for villages or the borders. The UK-based Oxfam organisation has warned of a looming "catastrophe" and wants aid resumed to prevent refugees from besieging Afghanistan's borders.

The main supplier of food aid, the World Food Programme, has stopped all transport of wheat into and around the country.

And there are reports of a breakdown of law and order in the capital Kabul and other cities, with food being looted.

Substantial aid is going to Pakistan, the haven for more than two million Afghan refugees even before the current influx.

The BBC's James Robbins
describes the strategic options available to any coalition force attempting to move on Afghanistan
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"It is now a world of friends and of enemies"
President George W Bush
"The Taleban must act and must act immediately"
The BBC's Jacky Rowland
reports on the struggle of anti-Taleban forces in Northern Afghanistan
See also:

21 Sep 01 | Americas
Analysis: Bush rises to the occasion
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Text: Bush address to Congress
20 Sep 01 | Americas
Chirac: Fighting terror a priority
19 Sep 01 | Europe
Germany backs military action
18 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair embarks on diplomatic offensive
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
Afghanistan - a tough military option
18 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
China demands US attack evidence
21 Sep 01 | South Asia
Millions of Afghans face starvation
20 Sep 01 | Americas
The trail to Bin Laden
21 Sep 01 | Europe
EU leaders back US retaliation
21 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan protests turn violent
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