Attack Update: Latest Developments

• Talking tough on Sunday, President Bush told Americans, “We need to be alert to the fact that these evildoers still exist. And we’ll be alert. Your government is alert . . . that evil folks still lurk out there.”

• Bush emphasized that those who attacked the United States on Tuesday “made a terrible mistake . . . they have roused a mighty giant and, make no mistake about it, we’re determined.” He added, “It’s time for us to win the first war of the 21st century, so our children and grandchildren can live peacefully.”

• In light of recent events, the Bush administration is asking Congress for a wide range of sharper tools to help solve last Tuesday’s hijacking disasters and to stave off future attacks. These range from enhanced wiretapping authority to stiffer penalties for those who harbor terrorists.

• Meanwhile, over the weekend, Afghanistan’s hard-line ruling Taliban government reaffirmed its position of sheltering the chief suspect of masterminding Tuesday’s holocaust, Osama bin Laden — a Saudi dissident who is believed to have launched his campaign against the U.S. in retribution for the “desecration” of the land of Islam by the American deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis.

• On Monday, a delegation of senior Pakistani officials was due in Afghanistan to demand that the ruling Taliban militia hand over Osama bin Laden to the U.S. within three days.

• Witnesses in Afghanistan told the Associated Press on Monday that Taliban officials were fleeing Kabul amid expectations of U.S. attacks. Officials and their families were heading for the countryside, though it reportedly was not clear whether or not this was under instruction from their leader, Mullah Omar.

• Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal told Reuters the meeting of about 1,000 delegates would take place by Wednesday and Omar — who rarely ventures outside Kandahar — would not attend.

• Taliban officials insist that neither they nor bin Laden had the capacity to organize an international plot and pull off the type of operation that occurred on Tuesday.

• Just about every nation except Iraq has come forward with offers of support to the U.S. This includes Pakistan and Iran, which, Sec. of Defense Colin Powell said, “made a rather positive statement, for Iran.” Syria, too, may become an unexpected ally, as could Libya, though U.S. officials remain wary. China expressed it support of the U.S. fighting “terrorism” but pointedly insisted that peace, not war, is the better option. In Europe, England, France, Germany and others, including former Cold War foe Russia, are also supportive.

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