by Selwyn Manning
Afghanistan's ruling malitia the Taliban has been offered a second chance to avert attack. United States secretary of state Colin Powell told the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden and tear up the at-Qaida terrorist network and it will be spared from war.
The Taliban has become more isolated today as luke-warm nations distanced themselves from appearing supportive of the Taliban and al-Qaida. And the US's Colin Powell took the opportunity to offer once again an out for the determined Afghani regime.
"If they did that we wouldn't be worrying about whether they are the regime in power or not," Powell said in Associated Press reports.
"If they don't come to their senses we will direct more actions against Taliban," he said.
Powell played down suggestions of an iminent military invasion of Afghanistan. Information of troop movements and fleet deployments has been sealed by US military officials. But one thing is sure, the biggest build-up of military force is taking place, and the sheer awareness of this Powell has said is designed to apply pressure to the Taliban regime.
However, the Taliban said today that it is prepared for war. And students across the border in Afghanistan have rallied in support of a Jihad or holy war against western forces should Afghanistan be attacked.
Powell said today that Afghanistan is a "tough place" to fight conventional battles. "You can be sure we are thinking of all the ways to make them think properly."
Afghani opposition forces to the north of the country have continued spasmodic fire against Taliban holds.
Powell added that Pakistan has been "absolutely superb" in cooperating with the United States in its anti-terrorism campaign.
"The Central Asians to the north are against them now and they have had the Iranians unsupportive and against them," Powell said.
Powell also said Sudan and Syria - two countries listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism - have joined the campaign against terrorism, and Syria is being courted to join also.
Only Iraq, Powell said today, "didn't find what happened to us a tragedy."
Suddam Hussein has remained defiant against United States moves of retaliation for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The US administration has hinted on several occassions that such a well planned attack must have had the logisitic and intelligence support on a nation and/or nations.
The remarks are clearly targetted at Saddam, who has responded through letters to United States citizens, and other people and governments around that world, criticising United States rhetoric blunders such as US President George W Bush referring to the campaign against terrorism as a "crusade". Saddam writes that this latest US war is a war against Islam and is designed by Zionists as part of a plan to master world affairs.