- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday he is working with allies and other world powers to build a military and political coalition against the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
"We will find out who is responsible for this, and they will pay for it," Mr. Powell told reporters at the State Department headquarters, which was back in operation a day after its evacuation.
"We are undertaking a full-court press diplomatically, politically, militarily. I have been in touch with a number of foreign leaders and international organizational leaders to coordinate the diplomatic approach to this."
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush also has been calling world leaders "to rally an international coalition to combat terrorism."
"The president will continue to reach out to leaders throughout the world to develop this coalition to send a message that the United States and the world stand united, all the freedom-loving countries and others, to fight terrorism."
Mr. Bush has contacted the heads of the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, which can authorize military action. In Brussels, NATO cleared the way for joint military action.
Senior Bush administration officials are speaking publicly of quick retaliatory strikes at terrorist training camps as the opening salvo in a broader war on Middle East-based terrorism organizations.
With intelligence agencies increasingly convinced that Tuesday's attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi terror mastermind based in Afghanistan, the United States turned up the heat on Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan.
"We thought it would be useful to point out to the Pakistani leadership, at every level, that we are looking for and expecting their fullest cooperation and their help and support," Mr. Powell said.
He said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has met with Pakistani Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi to "share views" and determine "how helpful [Pakistan] might be" if the United States identifies the perpetrators and decides to "act upon that information."
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf subsequently issued a statement promising his government's "unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism." U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin is to meet with Gen. Musharraf today.
Mr. Powell said he also would be seeking other Muslim countries as allies. The department said later he had spoken with leaders and top advisers of Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League.
Shortly after Mr. Powell's press briefing, NATO ambassadors voted in Brussels to invoke Article 5 of the U.N. charter in the event that Tuesday's attacks were determined to have originated abroad, as the evidence suggested.
"Article 5 of the charter says that an attack from abroad by anyone against any member of the alliance is an attack against the alliance," Mr. Powell said, explaining that the move would open the door to cooperative military action.
Mr. Powell was careful not to blame anyone for the attacks until proof was available.
Any attempt to capture and punish bin Laden could involve military action in Afghanistan, a rugged Himalayan nation that through its history has repelled foreign armies — most recently the Soviet Union's during the 1980s.
In a historic about-face, the United States and Russia appeared to be joining forces over Afghanistan, where U.S. aid helped Islamic guerrillas defeat the Soviets. Mr. Armitage is to activate a Joint U.S.-Russian Working Group on Afghanistan in connection with the terrorist assaults.
Russia fears and despises bin Laden as much as the United States because of his support for Islamic militants and terrorists in Chechnya and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
Russia has "resources" useful in attacking bin Laden, said a State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He was referring to land access to Afghanistan through Russia's ally, Tajikistan.
Mr. Powell said he also has spoken with the European Union's foreign affairs branch, Javier Solana, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
His talks aim "not only to bring these perpetrators [of the bombings] to justice and to the punishment they deserve, but at the same time to undertake a worldwide effort to build a coalition against all forms of terrorism, wherever it may occur and however it rears its ugly head," Mr. Powell said.
Asked if the State Department — which for months had been calling on Israel to limit its responses to terrorist attacks by Palestinians — now favored taking off the gloves, Mr. Powell was clear.
"I think when you are attacked by a terrorist and you know who the terrorist is and you can fingerprint back to the cause of the terror, you should respond," he said.
"Whether it's limited or other than limited, you should respond to those who did it. And if you are able to stop terrorist attacks, you should stop terrorist attacks."
The secretary of state said he recognized that the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, which has killed about 600 Palestinians and about 150 Israelis since last September, was partly to blame for the bombings, and he called on the two sides to meet as soon as possible.
"Obviously, the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis has been going on for a long time and is always in the background," he said.
"But some of the terrorist organizations that we have seen at work over the years conduct terrorist activities against the United States regardless of how the peace process may or may not be going, with respect to the Israelis and the Palestinians."


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