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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 02:34 GMT
Blair aims to bolster war support
Survivor receives treatment after being injured in a rocket attack by the Taleban in Anaba
Civilian casualties have prompted growing criticism
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is to rally domestic support for military action in Afghanistan, saying Britons must "never forget" the reasons for the campaign.

He will use a speech in Wales to say that the US-led response to the attacks is just, and that the UK must "stay the course".

"Whatever our faults, Britain is a moral nation with a strong sense of right and wrong. And that moral fibre will defeat fanaticism, terrorists and their supporters," he will say.

There has been criticism that after three weeks of bombing in Afghanistan, with a rising toll of civilian casualties, the allies' war aims are unclear and there is no sign when the conflict is going to be over.

We must never forget how we felt watching the planes fly into the trade towers

Tony Blair
According to a poll in Tuesday's Guardian, public support for the military action has fallen in the last fortnight from 74% to 62%.

Mr Blair is expected to say: "It is important that we never forget why we are doing this; never forget how we felt watching the planes fly into the trade towers; never forget those answerphone messages.

"Never forget how we felt imagining how mothers told children they were about to die.

"Never forget the guts of the firefighters and police who died trying to save others; never forget the gloating menace of Osama Bin Laden in his propaganda videos.

Press accused of 'wobbling'

"Never forget that long list of countries who lost sons and daughters, never forget they were of all faiths and none, many Muslims."

Press criticism has irritated ministers, with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw accusing the British media of "wobble" in their coverage of the war.

Downing Street has also pointed out there was similar criticism during the Kosovo campaign, but that the Nato alliance held together and achieved its objectives.

BBC correspondent John Pienaar said: "Publicly, ministers argue that the main problem is the need for the media to curb its voracious appetite to keep the story moving.

"But the doubts aren't just in the media - they're shared at Westminster and it seems that they're beginning to be shared out in the country at large."

Bin Laden 'may not be found'

On Monday evening armed forces minister Adam Ingram acknowledged that the allies may never find Bin Laden - although he thought they probably would.

"Anything is possible, but it is what is probable," he told BBC Two's Newsnight programme. "And the probabilities are that we will get Bin Laden, and bring him to account. That is the probability. But anything is possible.

"At any time Bin Laden may come into our ambit of opportunity of bringing him to account.

"Now that is something which could happen, it is something which could happen quickly, it may take longer."

Mr Blair will again stress that the action is not against Islam, as has been claimed by Bin Laden and his supporters.

"For it is not us who are at war with Islam. It is al-Qaeda and the Taleban who are at war with anyone, whatever their faith, who does not share their maniacal and fanatical view of the world."

He will also say the military campaign has had significant results in destroying al-Qaeda terror training camps and undermining Taleban military defences.

The BBC's Nick Jones
"He's going... to underscore the reasons why military action is necessary"

Key stories


War view



See also:

29 Oct 01 | UK
A touch of the wobblies?
29 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Who is winning the war?
29 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Ground troops 'won't be rushed'
28 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges patience over war on terror
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