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Saturday, 6 October, 2001, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
'Time running out' for Taleban
Osama Bin Laden
The US has rejected any negotiation over Bin Laden
US President George W Bush has delivered a stark message to Afghanistan's Taleban leadership to hand over Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden.

Full warning has been given, and time is running out

President Bush
"The Taleban has been given the opportunity to surrender all the terrorists in Afghanistan and to close down their camps and operations," Mr Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Full warning has been given, and time is running out."

The address came as the atmosphere grew tense in Afghanistan in anticipation of air strikes.

There were sustained bursts of anti-aircraft fire on Saturday as gunners tried to shoot down an unidentified aircraft high above the capital, Kabul.

Screen grab from Al-Jazeera TV showing unidentified aircraft over Kabul
An Arabic TV camera crew filmed the plane over Kabul
Meanwhile, finance ministers from the G7 industrial countries are meeting in Washington to decide how to tackle terrorism and the economic slowdown in the wake of the 11 September suicide plane hijackings.

They will discuss plans to revive the flagging world economy with interest rate cuts and government spending.

In other developments:

  • Donor countries pledge more than $600m for humanitarian needs in Afghanistan
  • The Taleban says that Sunday Express journalist Yvonne Ridley will be freed over the weekend
  • The Taleban also offer to release eight international aid workers accused of promoting Christianity in Afghanistan if the US end threats of military action
  • UK Prime Minister Tony Blair ends talks in India vowing that action to isolate the Taleban will continue until the perpetrators of the suicide attacks on the US are brought to justice
  • Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tries to heal a diplomatic rift between Jerusalem and Washington following his comment that the US was "appeasing" Arab states at Israel's expense
  • The UN General-Assembly ends a week-long debate with a call for all states that have not ratified existing anti-terrorism conventions to do so urgently

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Afghanistan’s neighbours: Regional fears

The US is demanding that the Taleban hand over Osama Bin Laden, whom it believes was behind the 11 September attacks in which more than 5,600 died or are still missing.

"The United States is presenting a clear choice to every nation," he said. "Stand with the civilised world, or stand with the terrorists

President Bush
Mr Bush said that any nation which supported terrorism would pay a "heavy price".

Mr Bush accused the Taleban of turning Afghanistan into a sanctuary for terrorists.

"The Taleban promotes terror abroad, and practises terror against its people, oppressing women and persecuting all who dissent," he said.

But he pledged to act "in accordance with American ideals" and offer help to the Afghan people.

And he urged Congress to supplement $320m in immediate humanitarian aid with extra funds for the future reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

(Click here to see military picture)

Mr Bush made no reference to Saturday's announcement by the Taleban that it would release eight aid workers - including two Americans - if the US withdrew its threats of military action.

But a White House spokesman rejected the Taleban's offer to free the aid workers.

"These demands aren't subject to negotiations," the official said. "It is time for actions, not words, with regards to these demands."

Waiting for air strike

Anti-aircraft batteries opened fire on an aircraft seen circling over Kabul on Saturday afternoon.

F16: US troops are have been massing in the Gulf
Witnesses say several minutes of intense firing sent residents out onto the streets in anger and panic.

There is no indication about the identity of the aircraft, but the development comes as US troops and aircraft are being assembled within striking distance of Afghanistan.

Troops from the US Army's 10th Mountain Division have arrived in Uzbekistan to guard an Uzbek airbase on the Afghan border - which can only be used for search and rescue operations in Afghanistan.

Taleban commanders on the Afghan-Uzbek borders have declared that they will retaliate against Uzbekistan if any US attack is launched from there, according to official radio in Kabul.

The US currently has 30,000 other military personnel, 350 aircraft and two aircraft carriers in the region, with two more battle groups on the way.

A UK aircraft carrier is also in the area, taking part in major military exercises in Oman and available for action.

(click here to return)
President George W Bush
delivers his radio address
The BBC's Susannah Price
"The Taleban continue to make concilliatory noises"
John Mercer, father of detained aid worker
says the announcement that aid workers could be released is encouraging
See also:

06 Oct 01 | South Asia
Text: Taleban amnesty offer
06 Oct 01 | South Asia
Blair completes diplomatic drive
01 Oct 01 | Americas
Profile: US special forces
05 Oct 01 | South Asia
Race against time for Afghan aid
06 Oct 01 | South Asia
Pakistan's cash for co-operation deal
06 Oct 01 | South Asia
US begins ground deployment
05 Oct 01 | Business
Bush pushes for more tax cuts
06 Oct 01 | Americas
US launches 'anti-terror' satellite
06 Oct 01 | South Asia
Blair completes diplomatic drive
06 Oct 01 | South Asia
Blair issues warning to Taleban
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