U.S. diplomatic gains

Herald News Services

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Tuesday advanced its diplomatic effort to wage war against terrorist Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, securing a renunciation of the Taliban by Saudi Arabia and Russian consent to use former Soviet air bases for U.S. strikes.

The Saudi kingdom’s severing of relations with Afghanistan’s radical Islamic government and permission from Russia’s defense minister for the United States to use military facilities in Tajikistan came as the Group of Seven, the world’s wealthiest nations, agreed to join the United States in freezing terrorist assets.

Despite brewing tensions with Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan, Bush pronounced himself "most pleased" at the Saudi move and a "strong statement" of support from Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was followed by Tuesday’s permission to use the old Soviet bases.

"The coalition of legitimate governments and freedom-loving people is strong," Bush said. "People will contribute in different ways to this coalition. … The duties of the coalition may alter, but the mission won’t alter. And that is to rout out and destroy international terrorism."

The diplomatic developments came as Bush and congressional leaders met at the White House to grapple with whether to push forward with an economic stimulus plan. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Rubin, meeting behind closed doors with the Senate Finance Committee, cautioned that any stimulus package should be temporary but big enough to make an impact, as much as $100 billion.

Consumed by war planning, the White House announced that Bush’s 10-day trip to Asia next month will be shortened. Bush will still visit Shanghai Oct. 20-21 for the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, but will put off stops in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. As U.S. troop numbers continue to build in central Asia, Bush and his aides continued to leave ambiguous the extent of U.S. war aims.

The ambiguity reflects the sensitive diplomacy the administration is conducting as it seeks to win support from Muslim nations against bin Laden’s al-Qaida network. Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign minister warned at a news conference that "we must not make the blunder of trying to foist a government on the people of Afghanistan."

Bush and his aides continued to outline a flexible alliance that would allow different nations to participate in different activities based on domestic constraints. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke at the Pentagon of "revolving coalitions" that would "evolve and change over time and military sensitivity."

Rumsfeld also said the military had called up additional reserves and blocked imminent retirements to prepare for a protracted conflict that could last years.

Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell made a rare joint appearance on Capitol Hill, spending two hours providing top-secret briefings to Senate and House members.

In another interview, Powell said that if the Taliban regime in Afghanistan hands over bin Laden and rips up the al-Qaida terrorism network, it will be spared and may even receive Western assistance.

"If they did that, we wouldn’t be worrying about whether they are the regime in power or not," Powell said.

"If they don’t come to their senses, we will direct more actions against Taliban," he said.

The former Army general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff played down the idea of a U.S. military invasion.

"It’s a tough place to fight conventional battles," he said.

And yet, Powell said, "you can be sure we are thinking of all the ways to make them think properly."

Among them, he suggested, was encouraging existing divisions within the Islamic fundamentalist movement. Also, the Taliban has been struggling against resistance groups within Afghanistan.

In other developments:

  • The death toll at the World Trade Center rose to 287, and the number of missing to 6,347. The death toll at the Pentagon remained 189, and the Pennsylvania crash 44.

  • The last standing piece of the trade center was carefully brought down; officials say the seven-story piece of twisted metal may be used in a memorial.

  • The European Union delegation in Pakistan promised to help the nation cope with the flood of refugees expected from Afghanistan if the United States attacks.

  • The Bush administration is shipping 100,000 metric tons of wheat to feed Afghanistan’s refugees. It’s enough wheat to feed 2 million people for a year, according to the World Food Program.

    Talk to us

  • More in Local News

    A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

    Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

    Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

    The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

    Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

    Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

    Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
    Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

    Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

    Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

    Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

    Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
    Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

    After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

    Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

    Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

    Jamel Alexander, center, listens as a Snohomish County jury records their verdict of guilty, in the murder of Shawna Brune, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  Alexander was convicted in the first degree murder of Brune. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
    Appeals court orders new trial in Everett woman’s stomping death

    Appellate judges ruled that additional evidence should have been admitted in Jamel Alexander’s trial for the murder of Shawna Brune.

    Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

    Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

    Most Read