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Bush asserts Islam not the target,...(The Egyptian Gazette)

by The Egyptian Gazette Monday, Oct. 08, 2001 at 8:46 PM
gazette@algomhuria.net

"Bin Laden swears us will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine" WASHINGTON - US and British forces yesterday launched heavy night strikes beginning with cruise missiles against a broad range of Taliban military targets and guerrilla training camps in Afghanistan.

MONDAY OCTOBER , 8 - 2001

war

Bush asserts Islam not the target,

but those committing murder in its name

"We'll drive them out of their caves"

"Bin Laden swears us will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine"

WASHINGTON - US and British forces yesterday launched heavy night strikes beginning with cruise missiles against a broad range of Taliban military targets and guerrilla training camps in Afghanistan.

US officials, who asked not to be identified, said the carefully selected targets included Taliban air defence and command-and-control sites in the capital of Kabul and at an airbase near the Taliban stronghold city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

They said the initial military response to devastating Sept. 11 attacks on America included up to a half-dozen areas targeted by million Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by US and British surface ships and submarines.

In an address to the nation following the attacks, US President George W. Bush said that the war was not targeting Islam, but was against those who aided terrorists and "barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name".

Following are excerpts from Bush's address:

"On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al- Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.

We are joined in this operation by our staunch friend, Great Britain. Other close friends, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France, have pledged forces as the operation unfolds.

More than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and across Asia have granted air transit or landing rights. Many more have shared intelligence. We are supported by the collective will of the world.

More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of the al- Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens unjustly detained.

None of these demands were met. And now, the Taliban will pay a price.

By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans.

Initially the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched hiding places. Our military action is also designed to clear the way for sustained, comprehensive and relentless operations to drive them out and bring them to justice.

At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan.

The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith.

The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name.

This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries.

Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose.

Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.

I'm speaking to you today from the Treaty Room of the White House, a place where American presidents have worked for peace.

We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it.

We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.

The name of today's military operation is Enduring Freedom. We defend not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live and raise their children free from fear.

I know many Americans feel fear today. And our government is taking strong precautions. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working aggressively around America, around the world and around the clock.

At my request, many governors have activated the National Guard to strengthen airport security. We have called up reserves to reinforce our military capability and strengthen the protection of our homeland.

Today, those sacrifices are being made by members of our armed forces who now defend us so far from home, and by their proud and worried families.

A commander in chief sends America's sons and daughters into battle in a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer.

We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

They are dedicated. They are honorable. They represent the best of our country, and we are grateful.

To all the men and women in our military, every sailor, every soldier, every airman, every Coast Guardsman, every Marine, I say this: Your mission is defined. The objectives are clear. Your goal is just. You have my full confidence, and you will have every tool you need to carry out your duty."

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden, in his first verified statement since the September 11 attacks, swore in videotaped remarks broadcast yesterday that the United States would not live in peace until peace reigned in Palestine. "America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God what America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted," he said in a statement to Qatar's al-Jazeera television, referring to the attacks in the United States that left about 6,000 people dead or missing.

"Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more 80 years," he said, adding U.S. President George W. Bush was the "head of the infidels".

"God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims to destroy America...and may God bless them and allot them a place in heaven."

"I swear to God to that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine," he added. Jazeera said the statement was videotaped after September 11 but did not give a specific date. An aide to bin Laden, Ayman Zawahri, urged Muslims to resist America and another aide said the attacks were because America supported Israel's occupation of Arab lands.

In another development, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan told reporters yesterday that Osama bin Laden, and the leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, survived the first wave of U.S. attacks, Asked if bin Laden and Mullah Omar were still alive after the strikes on cities across Afghanistan, Ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said: "Thanks be to God."

The attacks were a sign of U.S. arrogance and expansionism, Zaeef said, condemning the strikes as terrorist acts.

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