- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

As allied bombing resumed in Afghanistan after a one-day break, President Bush yesterday said the ruling Taliban has missed its chance to comply with U.S. demands to turn over Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
"They did not listen, and they are paying a price," the president said in his weekly radio address.
Mr. Bush said "our enemy" is trying to hide in caves and bunkers, "but we're making a determined effort to take away his hiding places."
As the president ratcheted up the anti-Taliban rhetoric, bin Laden's al Qaeda network threatened more terrorist attacks against the United States and Britain in a videotaped message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television early today.
"The storm of airplanes will not be calmed, if it is God's will," bin Laden aide Suleiman Abu Ghaith said in the recorded message on the Qatar-based station.
"The storm will not calm as long as [the United States and Britain] do not end your support for the Jews in Palestine, lift your embargo from around the Iraqi people, and have left the Arabian peninsula," the bin Laden spokesman said.
"We tell and recommend Muslims not to get on airplanes and not live in towers and high buildings" in the countries carrying out the military strikes against Afghanistan, he said.
White House spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise dismissed the latest threats as "just more propaganda" from the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
Earlier yesterday, Pentagon officials said a U.S. warplane missed a Taliban military target at Kabul airport overnight and its 2,000-pound bomb struck a residential neighborhood of the Afghan capital.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, told the Associated Press that the precision-guided "smart" bomb was aimed by a carrier-based Navy aircraft at a helicopter on the ground but missed by about a mile.
At least one man was killed and four injured, the Reuters news agency reported from Kabul.
"We are checking on this," a Pentagon official told Reuters. "But a large bomb apparently went astray and hit perhaps a mile from its target."
"We do not target civilians, and we regret any loss of innocent life," another official said.
Bush administration officials said U.S. forces continued to use "bunker-busting" bombs against buried targets, including caves where members of bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network are believed to be hiding.
The president reiterated that the first phase of the military campaign has gone according to plan.
"We have disrupted the terrorist network inside Afghanistan," Mr. Bush said. "We have weakened the Taliban's military. And we have crippled the Taliban's air defenses."
Seeking to calm Americans anxious about more terrorist attacks which the FBI on Thursday warned could come in the next few days Mr. Bush said, "I understand that many Americans are feeling uneasy.
"But all Americans should be assured: We are taking strong precautions, we are vigilant, we are determined, the country is alert and the great power of the American nation will be felt. We're taking the war to the enemy and we are strengthening our defenses here at home."
Americans heard Mr. Bush's comments before learning of the new threats by bin Laden's al Qaeda network to commit another wave of jetliner suicide attacks.
In his videotaped warnings, the al Qaeda spokesman singled out for "crimes" against Muslims both Mr. Bush and his father, former President George Bush, as well as former President Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"We say to Bush the father, son, Clinton, Blair and Sharon, who are at the head of the Zionist criminals and crusaders, who have committed the worst crimes against millions of Muslims that their blood [of the Muslims] was not spilled in vain and that we will avenge them," Abu Ghaith said.
Mr. Bush conducted a 30-minute video conference from Camp David with his National Security Council.
Joining in from Washington were Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. At Camp David were National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George J. Tenet and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
Mr. Bush and Miss Rice also discussed the president's agenda for his visit next week to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Shanghai. Aides say a key component will lobby Asian nations to freeze the financial assets of bin Laden's network and other terrorist groups.
The administration hailed an agreement among Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates to freeze the assets of an expanded list of groups and individuals accused by Washington of links to terrorism.
"This is a welcome action and one more example of the excellent cooperation we're getting in the war on terrorism," an administration official said.
Defense officials confirmed that U.S. warplanes in recent days struck key Taliban military positions north of Kabul and again bombed targets near Kabul and the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar overnight.
Up to 5,000 or more Taliban troops are dug in against opposition Northern Alliance forces north of Afghanistan's capital.
But U.S. defense officials cautioned against speculation that Washington had begun actively moving to open a path for the Northern Alliance to move on Kabul. Washington is working to unite groups opposed to the Taliban regime.
As U.S. fighter jets resumed bombing Afghanistan after a brief respite for Friday's Muslim sabbath, the ruling Islamic extremist Taliban militia flatly rejected Mr. Bush's offer to halt the strikes if they handed over bin Laden.
But Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Adbullah told a news conference yesterday that growing direct strikes against Taliban military forces had robbed Taliban fighters of the ability to launch counteroffensives. He said the number of Taliban military casualties could be "hundreds, not dozens."
However, civilians have also been affected by the military strikes, leading to an exodus of refugees. The Afghan Islamic Press, an independent news agency based in Pakistan, reported that the allied bombing campaign has hit residential neighborhoods in Kandahar and Jalalahab. It said casualties could not be determined.
But even before thunderous explosions shattered the calm of the previous day, Afghans had begun to flee homes for rural villages, many for the third time since the Sept. 11 suicide airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
"Now the focus is on targets closer to cities," said Mario Musa, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Islamabad.
Basing his assessment on daily conversations with Afghan Red Cross workers inside Afghanistan, he said people had been leaving cities in large numbers for the past 48 hours.
Mr. Bush said yesterday the military campaign will be a long one, adding that "the best defense against terrorism is a strong offensive against terrorism."
"American forces dominate the skies over Afghanistan and we will use that dominance to make sure terrorists can no longer freely use Afghanistan as a base of operations," he said.
Mr. Bush also said millions of Americans want to know what they can do to help. "Americans already contribute to the war on terror by their patience and patriotism, by their resolve and generosity," he said.
The president renewed his call on the nation's children to each contribute a dollar to help the children of Afghanistan.
Addressing children directly, he said: "I urge you to show the best of America by directly helping the children of Afghanistan who are suffering from the oppression and misrule of their own government. The contributions can be sent to: America's Fund for Afghan Children, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C., 20509-1600."
"This is something the children of America can do for the children of Afghanistan, even as we oppose the brutal Taliban regime," the president said.
Willis Witter contributed to this report, which is based in part on wire service reports.-

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