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Bush to Taliban: 'Time is running out'



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Saturday that "time is running out" for Afghanistan to hand over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers.

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have refused to surrender bin Laden unless the United States gives them proof that he was responsible for the September 11 coordinated terror attacks.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said many Afghans are on the verge of starvation and reinforced the United States' commitment of food and humanitarian aid to Afghan people, both those inside the country and those who have fled its borders.

"The Afghan people ... are the victims of oppression, famine and misrule," Bush said. "Our enemy is not the people of any nation, even when their leaders harbor terrorists. Our enemy is the terrorists themselves, and the regimes that shelter and sustain them."

He also urged Congress to make funds available in the long term to help rebuild and develop Afghanistan.

"Helping people in great need is part of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions," Bush said, in his weekly radio address. "It is also a central part of the American tradition."

On Thursday, Bush announced an additional $320 million in humanitarian aid for the Afghan people. In Saturday's address, he again made the distinction between innocent Afghans and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime, who are harboring bin Laden and his followers.

"Despite efforts by the Taliban to disrupt these critical aid shipments, we will deliver food and seeds, vaccines and medicines by truck, and even by draft animals. Conditions permitting, we will bring help directly to the people of Afghanistan by air drops," Bush said.

The U.S. aid should help Afghans make it through the upcoming winter, the president said.



 
 
 
 



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