NATO - U.S. has proved bin Laden link to attacks

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The United States gave its NATO allies "clear and compelling evidence" Tuesday that points "conclusively" to involvement of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaida network in last month's attack in New York and Washington, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said.

"It is clear that all roads lead to Al-Qaida and pinpoint Osama bin Laden as having been involved in it," Robertson said after a classified briefing given to the organization's ruling council by U.S. Ambassador at Large Francis X. Taylor.

Robertson said the allies have determined that the attack was directed from abroad and therefore covered by NATO's Article 5, which says that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Robertson's comments come ahead of a speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair expected to tell Afghanistan's Taliban rulers that time has run out for handing over bin Laden, chief suspect in the Sept. 11 suicide hijacking attacks in New York and Washington. It's the same warning sent earlier by Pakistan's president, and another sign that military strikes are inevitable.

Blair was to say that U.S.-led strikes will be directed at the Saudi dissident's training camps and the Taliban's military hardware, supplies and finances, aides said.

The Taliban, an Islamic militia that controls the majority of Afghanistan, said Sunday they know where bin Laden is, and that he is under their control. Previously, they had said they didn't know the Saudi millionaire's location, but they could deliver messages to him.

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