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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
US attacks shock South Asia
Police and security guards block the road outside the American Center in Islamabad
Security has been stepped up around US facilities
South Asian nations have united in condemnation of the devastating attacks on the United States.

India has offered to cooperate with US authorities in its hunt for the perpetrators of the worst terrorist attack in US history.


We share the grief of the American people in this grave national tragedy

Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan's military-led government described the attacks as "most brutal and horrible", and has stepped up security for Americans and other westerners.

But all eyes remain on Afghanistan, where prime suspect Osama bin Laden continues to receive sanctuary as a "guest" of the ruling Taleban militia.

The AFP news agency, however, has reported that the Taleban have said they would consider requests for the extradition of the Saudi dissident.

But the hardline militia also warned Washington against direct retaliatory action, as the United Nations staff in Afghanistan announced evacuation plans in fear of possible US strikes.

'Threat to our people'

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has written to US President George W. Bush expressing outrage at the events.

He said such incidents sent a strong message to "democracies to redouble our efforts to defeat this great threat to our people, our values and our way of life".

Indian newsstand
The news that shocked the world
Mr Vajpayee said India stood ready to cooperate with the United States "to strengthen our partnership in leading international efforts to ensure that terrorism never succeeds again."

Indian newspapers are reporting that tens of thousands of Indian citizens are trying desperately to phone relatives in the United States.

But getting a phone line through to anywhere on the eastern seaboard is proving difficult, if not impossible.

In Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa, offered special prayers for the dead.

Pakistan's 'grief'

Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, also sent a message to President Bush mourning the enormous and unprecedented loss of life.

Pakistan policeman and Afghan national
A Pakistani policeman checks an Afghan national in Islamabad
"We share the grief of the American people in this grave national tragedy. We strongly condemn this most brutal and horrible act of terror and violence," he wrote.

Pakistan in one of only three countries that recognise the Taleban administration.

A Ministry of Interior spokesman told the Reuters news agency in Islamabad that security arrangements has been stepped up at all foreign embassies.

"...Anything which has an American connection we have taken care of," he was quoted as saying.

Sri Lanka 'committed'

The government of Sri Lanka, itself the target of a protracted suicide bombing campaign by separatist Tiger guerrillas, called for an international response to the US attacks.

"Sri Lanka stands fully committed to support all international initiatives in pursuit of this objective," President Chandrika Kumuratunga wrote in her message to the US president.

The head of Bangladesh's caretaker administration, Latifur Rahman, and Nepal's King Gyanendra have also sent messages of sympathy and outrage.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Daniel Lak in Delhi
Thousands of Indians are trying to phone relatives in the US
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