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US Launches Attacks On Afghanistan - 2001-10-07

The United States has launched military attacks on Afghanistan, where American and British forces are targeting terrorist camps and military installations of the country's Taleban rulers.

Shortly after the first explosions rocked Kabul, President Bush addressed the American people. He said he had ordered U.S. forces to attack al-Qaida terrorist training camps, and Taleban military installations. "These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operation," he said, "and to attack the military capability of the Taleban regime." The President said that more than two weeks ago he gave Taleban leaders a list of clear demands: close terrorist training camps, turn over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and other leaders of al-Qaida, and release detained aid workers. "None of these demands were met," he added, "and now the Taleban will pay a price."

Mr. Bush said the military campaign will be sustained and comprehensive. He said several countries, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France - have pledged forces as the operation unfolds. Still others are providing information and logistical support.

In a speech to the nation that ran less than seven minutes, the President stressed the United States is not waging war against the Afghan people. He said while some American military aircraft attack Taleban and terrorist targets, others would be involved in humanitarian airdrops of food and other supplies. "The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people." he said, "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 the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name."

Mr. Bush went on to warn the American public that this fight against terrorism will take time, and there will be sacrifices to make. He said the war eventually will go beyond the groups operating out of Afghanistan. "Today we focus on Afghanistan," he said, "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 innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves."

Mr. Bush said the United States is defending the freedom of people everywhere to live free from fear. He said America will not falter and it will not fail.