Tags: Bush: | Anti-terror | Campaign | 'Good | Evil'

Bush: Anti-terror Campaign 'Good vs Evil'

Tuesday, 25 September 2001 12:00 AM

"With a little support from the United States, we can push the Taliban out of Afghanistan," said an opposition spokesman Abdullah Abdullah, as the BBC reported fierce fighting around the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

The American military buildup continued, with more than 350 Navy and Air Force warplanes deploying in the region in an operation renamed "Enduring Freedom', after Muslim complaints that "Infinite Justice' was blasphemous. American oil companies announced Tuesday the Pentagon had awarded contracts that will sharply increase the production of military jet fuel at the company's refineries in Texas and California.

U.S. soldiers were seen by residents near the city of Termez, which borders Afghanistan, a reliable source told United Press International on Tuesday. The U.S. recently was granted permission to use three airfields in Uzbekistan to transfer special forces into the area for any military strike against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the Russian Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Pentagon Tuesday announced it is activating an additional 1,940 military reserve personnel, including several top combat communications and intelligence squadrons used in Operation Desert Storm and the Kosovo bombing campaign.

The reserve call-up also covers 190 people from a Puerto Rico mortuary affairs unit and 835 in the Naval Reserve for law enforcement support. This brings to nearly 14,000 the number of National Guard and reserve troops called to active duty since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The attacks and the crash of a hijacked airliner in Pennsylvania left more than 6,000 people feared dead, most of them in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

U.S. warplanes will be able to use the airport in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, if needed for retaliatory operations in Afghanistan, Russia's top military official said Tuesday. "If there is such a need, the Dushanbe airport can be put at disposal of the U.S. Air Force," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters. Russia and its Central Asian allies have conducted extensive consultations to find ways to assist Washington in its bid to crack down on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime.

Reaching into the tough rhetoric of Texas, Bush called upon the Afghan people Tuesday to split with the Taliban and help him "smoke" Islamic "terrorists" out of the country's caves and "get them running so we can get them."

"Make no mistake about it: This is good versus evil," President Bush said after talks at the White House with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Speaking of the terrorists who launched the Sept. 11 assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush said: "These are evildoers. They have no justification for their actions. There's no religious justification, there's no political justification. The only motivation is evil."

Koizumi promised "full support'" for Bush's anti-terror campaign, including an unprecedented mobilization of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to provide logistical backing for the expected U.S. military strikes.

"It (the SDF) will engage in activities even if they entail danger," Koizumi told Japanese reporters in a briefing Tuesday shortly before his meeting with Bush.

Koizumi has presented a 7-point plan of support, which still needs parliamentary approval, that would deploy Japanese warships to the Gulf region to help with intelligence gathering, logistics and medical support.

Other senior U.S. officials warned that the terrorist attacks might not be over. People with possible links to terrorist hijackers have obtained or tried to get licenses to transport hazardous material, Attorney General John Ashcroft told Congress Tuesday. Ashcroft said the FBI believes there is "a potential for additional terrorist incidents."

Bush visited FBI headquarters in Washington Tuesday to throw his support behind Ashcroft's controversial proposals for tough new legal measures against terrorism , including detention without trial for immigrant suspects.

"In order to win the war, we must make sure the law enforcement men and women have got the tools necessary - within the Constitution - to defeat the enemy," Bush said. Some lawmakers, civil liberties groups and conservative organizations have raised concerns about some of the proposed changes before Congress, saying the definition of terrorism might be too broad and individuals might be held even with little evidence of wrongdoing.

Although the U.S. economic outlook began to stabilize after Wall Street closed higher for the second successive day, House Democrats said Tuesday that Congress should move a bill to help 100,000 aerospace workers laid off in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. House minority leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., formed two Democratic taskforces to address new economic and security issues, to "help us work more efficiently with Republicans."

Bush's closest ally in Europe, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, ordered Parliament into a one-day emergency session on Oct. 4 to debate the approaching war on terrorism and the looming initial conflict shaping up in Afghanistan. Blair, who earlier warned terrorists who attacked America of "our determination to do what is necessary to bring those responsible to account," will deliver an opening address outlining developments in the crisis. The implication is that Blair wants parliamentary backing before authorizing the large-scale military action that is now being prepared by the U.S. and its allies.

A new political effort to challenge the Taliban gathered pace alongside the military and diplomatic efforts under way Tuesday. A delegation of Afghan officials was traveling to Europe to meet with former Afghanistan King Mohamed Zahir Shah, a top Afghan diplomat told a news conference Tuesday.

"Besides meeting with the former king, the delegation will also meet with the representatives of other foreign-based Afghan movements that strive to build peace in Afghanistan," said Ghulam Sakhi Ghairat, the first secretary of the Afghanistan's Embassy in Moscow, representing the pre-Taliban government. The diplomat added that the supporters of ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani "have tremendous respect for our former king" and back his peace initiative.

The World Food Program is resuming "on a trial basis" shipments of food to northern and western Afghanistan, stricken by years of drought and famine that have helped push more than 2 million refugees into neighboring Pakistan and Iran. But the ruling Taliban regime is not making it easy, officials said Tuesday. The aid was suspended over concerns for the safety of aid workers following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Despite the rallying of Japan, Russia, and traditional allies like Europe and Canada, the Bush administration's diplomatic campaign has run into difficulties in much of the Arab and Islamic world. Muslim cleric groups in Indonesia, the world's largest Islamic country, called on Muslims across the world Tuesday to unite for a jihad if the United States attacks Afghanistan. In a strongly worded statement, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, known by its local acronym of MUI, and 32 other Islamic organizations criticized U.S. "arrogance" and accused Washington of holding double standards in relation to terrorist acts.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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With a little support from the United States, we can push the Taliban out of Afghanistan, said an opposition spokesman Abdullah Abdullah, as the BBC reported fierce fighting around the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The American military buildup continued, with...
Tuesday, 25 September 2001 12:00 AM
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