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Monday, 8 October, 2001, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Archbishop warns against a 'holy' war
The Archbishop of Wales the Dr Rowan Williams
The Archbishop witnessed the attacks on New York first hand
The Archbishop of Wales has urged the public to remember that the military action in Afghanistan is "not a war against Islam".

Dr Rowan Williams, who witnessed the 11 September terror attacks in the US, has voiced his concerns over the humanitarian problems that the retaliation strikes will cause.

We must continue to work at building trust with other Muslim fellow-citizens here

The Archbishop of Wales Dr Rowan Williams

The United States has already warned that it is planning further air assaults on Afghanistan after launching an initial series of strikes on Sunday night.

US military sources said the bombings, which involved some British military forces, would carry on for several evenings to come.

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams said his thoughts were with the thousands of people who would be affected by the conflict.

Dr Williams said: "It is too early for anyone to comment on the effectiveness of this action, but we continue to hope that every effort will be made to avoid civilian casualties and to keep firmly in focus the aim of securing those believed to be guilty of last month's outrages.

Punishment attacks

"We shall be thinking of British servicemen and women and their families in the days ahead, as well as the many thousands whose lives will be affected by this new stage of the conflict," he added.

"This is not a war against Islam, and we must continue to work at building trust with other Muslim fellow-citizens here, who share our hopes for a world free of terror."

Dr Williams was said to be "extremely shocked" after the US atrocities.

He was just 200 yards away from the World Trade Center when the hijacked passenger jets flew into the twin towers.

But, despite having observed the destructive force of terrorism, Dr Williams warned that any act of punishment for the attacks must not take the shape of revenge.

On Sunday, 15 bombers, 25 strike aircraft and 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles were deployed as the US hit back 26 days after the suicide attacks in New York and Washington.

See also:

08 Oct 01 | South Asia
US threatens more strikes
08 Oct 01 | UK
Police on terror alert
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