INDEPENDENT NEWS

Afghanistan's Taliban Condemns Attacks on US

Published: Wed 12 Sep 2001 05:19 AM
by Selwyn Manning
Afghanistan's Taliban ambassador to Pakistan has condemned this morning's terrorist attacks on the United States.
"We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain. We hope the courts find justice," the Taliban to Pakistan, Ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, said.
The U.S. President George W. Bush has said they were "terrorist attacks."
The terrorist attacks were launched this morning with aircraft crashing into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan New York soon after 9am USEST.
The Pentagon has also has also been hit.
CNN is reporting that the Taliban has in the past angered the U.S. for giving sanctuary to wanted Saudi dissident Osama bin laden, described by Washington as "the world's most wanted terrorist."
Apart from the embassy bombings, U.S. officials also link bin Laden to last year's bombing of a U.S. navy ship in Yemen and with foiled plots in the United States and Jordan at the turn of the millennium, CNN reports.
The Taliban sprang from religious schools in Pakistan near the Afghan border and, with almost no military experience, swept from obscurity to their 1996 capture of the capital in only two years.
All airline travel within the United States whas been suspended, with flights coming in to New York being diverted to Canada.
US President George W Bush has called for the "full resources of the federal government" to hunt down those responsible for the terrorist attacks.
Smoke and fire is pouring from the World Trade Centre towers,and by 10:27 a.m. USEST both towers have collapsed.
CNN television is reporting eye witness accounts that the first plane seemed to slow and deliberately line up before crashing into the north tower.
The New York Times reports a witness saying that as he came to work on 46th Street just before 9 he saw an American Airlines Boeing 767 flying "very low in the direction of the World Trade Center towers."
He said he did not see the impact, but later reports said one of the planes that crashed into the towers was an American Airlines plane that had been hijacked on a flight from Boston, the New York Times reports.
Whitehouse officials have issued a statements saying F.B.I. is investigating reports of the hijacking before the crashes.
Meanwhile debris has rained down over the streets of New York's busiest work areas. The New York Times reports: "When the second plane hit, a fireball of flame and smoke erupted, leaving a huge hole in the glass and steel tower." The terrorist attack is obviously timed to happen during New York's peak traffic hours.
All United States airports have been shut down, and New York City's subway lines have been closed. Trading on Wall Street has been suspended and businesses have been ordered to evacuate personnel.
Selwyn Manning - Scoop Auckland
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