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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
US warns of long campaign
USAF planes
The US planes are ready - but when will action start?
United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said there will be no single co-ordinated assault at the start of President Bush's fight against global terrorism.

Mr Rumsfeld said the campaign would be long, difficult, and dangerous, and more lives might be lost.

The United States of America knows that the only way we can defend against terrorism is by taking the fight to the terrorists

Donald Rumsfeld
A senior Democrat briefed by the White House said that guerrilla warfare would be met with guerrilla warfare.

US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz will brief Nato defence ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, and rally support for possible US military action.

The coalition against the Taleban has been further strengthened, after Saudi Arabia announced it was severing diplomatic ties with the regime in Afghanistan.

The Saudi Government is however still apparently resisting US pressure to allow American fighter planes to use its bases for an attack on Afghanistan.

Pakistan is now the only country in the world maintaining diplomatic links with the Taleban.

Click here for a map of possible targets

President Pervez Musharraf has said that the country should maintain contacts with the Taleban, but on Sunday it did withdraw its staff from Kabul.

In other developments:

  • The US changes the name of its military operation to "Enduring Freedom" after the original name "Infinite Justice" offended some Muslims

  • The UNHCR is to launch an appeal for aid to deal with an expected exodus of refugees from Afghanistan

  • The US House of Representatives approves a $340bn defence-spending bill for next year, with a $6bn budget for anti-terrorism programmes

  • Pakistan warns against imposing a government on Afghanistan if the Taleban regime were to fall

  • The UN's aviation agency recommends new safety measures to increase security in the air
Coalition building

The Saudi Government has given Afghan diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.

Afghans in Kabul
Afghans are determined to defend their country
US President George W Bush has been briefing leaders of Congress on the US military deployments within striking distance of Afghanistan, telling them not to expect a conventional war.

He also discussed co-operation with the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

He repeated that the US wanted action against the Taleban, not the Afghan people.

"They have made the decision to harbour terrorists," he said.

"The mission is to root out terrorists, to find them and bring them to justice.

"And the best way to do that, and one way to do that, is to ask for the cooperation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taleban in place."

'Wrong and cruel policies'

Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar said on Tuesday that the 11 September attacks on the United States were to avenge the "cruelty" of American foreign policy.

Donald Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld: Long, difficult, dangerous campaign
In a message to the American people, he reiterated that Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born dissident whom the US blames for the bombings, was incapable of such a sophisticated attack.

"The American people must know that the sad events that took place recently were the result of their government's wrong policies," read the message from Mullah Omar, delivered through Pakistan-based private news agency, the Afghan Islamic Press.

The Taleban maintain that they do not know the whereabouts of Bin Laden, and he has disclaimed any responsibility for the attacks, which killed more than 6,800 people.

It was Mullah Omar's second message to the American people in two days. On Monday, he warned the US Government to withdraw its forces from the Middle East and stop its support for Israel if it wanted to eliminate the threat of terrorism.

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The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"There will be no quick and easy military solution"
The BBC's James Robbins
on the gathering strength of the US-led coalition
See also:

24 Sep 01 | South Asia
US military threats dismissed
25 Sep 01 | Middle East
Saudi statement in full
26 Sep 01 | Americas
US split on Bin Laden evidence
25 Sep 01 | Europe
A significant step for Russia
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
24 Sep 01 | Business
Will Bush's asset freeze work?
16 Sep 01 | Americas
Analysis: Building a coalition
26 Sep 01 | Business
UN agency reviews airline security
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