United Kingdom
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
Message to the Afghan People
October 5, 2001

Terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September resulted in the deaths of 7,000 people. All nations, all religions were among the victims. Many British citizens and Muslims died. The victims and their families deserve justice.

A new world consensus against terrorism has taken shape. Islamic leaders have condemned these callous attacks, and joined that consensus. Together we are determined to bring those responsible to justice, and to root out terrorism and its supporters throughout the world. This is not a fight against Islam, it is a fight against terror. All religions value life, justice, compassion. Terrorists do not.

There has been no rush to retaliate. Our interest is not revenge, but justice and security. We are patiently and methodically gathering the information: it points clearly to the involvement of the terrorist group headed by Usama Bin Laden. He and his supporters must be brought to justice.

We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan. But foreign extremists are abusing the traditional hospitality of the Afghan people. The Taliban regime harms Afghanistan and its people by protecting Usama Bin Laden and his colleagues from justice. We have asked the Taliban leadership to hand over Usama Bin Laden and other AI Qaida leaders, to close down AI Qaida training camps and to make certain that Afghanistan can no longer harbour terrorists and their networks. They have refused. Those who try to shield such men from justice share their guilt.

While the Taliban leaders connive with foreign terrorists, the Afghan people suffer from poverty, drought and hunger. Those who have been trying to help the Afghan people have been driven from Afghanistan. The world is still helping the Afghan people from outside the country. The UK alone has given £25 million to help with the immediate humanitarian crisis. This will mean food, water and blankets for refugees. We are working urgently with the whole international community to ensure that people still inside Afghanistan also get the help they need, now blocked by the regime.

We want to do more both now and in the future. We want to work with all responsible Afghans to bring peace to the country and to help it on the path of stable development. This means responding to the needs of ordinary people - providing schools and clinics, roads and helping people establish more secure livelihoods. Afghanistan's friends will be generous in their help.

Our commitment to the Afghan people is simple and sincere. You have been ill-served by those who have made your country a haven for terrorists across the world. As soon as this stops the world will work with you, to build a better future for you, and for your children.


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