Powell says this amounts to 'war'
US SECRETARY of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that terrorist attacks in New York and Washington were the equivalent of 'war' against the United States, democracy and civilization.
"We've got to respond as if it is a war and we've got to respond in the sense that it isn't going to be solved with a single counterattack against one individual, its going to be a long-term conflict and it's going to be fought on many fronts," Powell said.
"It is not just a war against the United States," he said on ABC television's 'Good Morning America' program. "It is a war against civilization, its a war against all nations that believe in democracy."
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia this morning said it would consider requests for the extradition Osama bin Laden based on evidence from US investigators. It had earlier denied that the Saudi extremist was responsible for yesterday's atrocities in America.
Abdul Salam Zaeef, the radical Islamic militia's ambassador to Pakistan, had condemned the attacks but warned Washington that it would be a "big mistake" to retaliate against the Taliban or bin Laden.
He said: "Osama is only a person - he does not have the facilities to carry out such activities. We want to tell the American people that Afghanistan feels their pain. We hope that the terrorists are caught and brought to justice."
When asked about possible extradition, he said: "We can study the evidence and take action in the light of that."
Four of bin Laden's alleged followers were expected to be sentenced in New York next week for their role in US embassy bombings in Africa in 1998. The United States reacted then by launching missile attacks on bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan-based Islamic militant group which yesterday claimed responsibility, this morning reversed its claim.
Abdullah Muntazir, a spokesman for the hardline Lashkar-i-Taiba said he did not know who had claimed responsibility under the group's name in a statement sent to news agencies.
British Airways has suspended flights to Islamabad because of its proximity to Afghanistan. Flights to Tel Aviv are also suspended following Israel's decision to close its airspace. BA earlier cancelled flights to North America.
An official Iraqi newspaper described The terror attacks as a "lesson for all tyrants and oppressors".
Under the headline "America burns", Al-Iraq said: "US leaders must expect such a lesson because they have shown insupportable cruelty towards people and that ended by blowing up in their face, destroying their symbols and making Americans weep bitter tears."
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