Disaster database

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 1 May 2002

1236

Citation

(2002), "Disaster database", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 11 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/dpm.2002.07311bac.001

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited


Disaster database

11 September 2001, USA

Two aircraft have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, while another, reportedly a Boeing aircraft, has smashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. The White House, the Capitol and the Pentagon – the heart of the US military machine – are all reportedly being evacuated. All flights within the USA have been grounded.

11 September 2001, London – In a horrific sequence of destruction, terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center and the twin 110-storey towers collapsed this morning. Explosions also rocked the Pentagon and the State Department and spread fear across the nation. The fate of those in the skyscrapers was not immediately known. Authorities had been trying to evacuate the 50,000 people who work in the twin towers, but many were thought to be trapped. President Bush ordered a full-scale investigation to "hunt down the folks who committed this act." Within the hour, an aircraft crashed on a helicopter landing-pad near the Pentagon, a car bomb exploded outside the State Department, and the West Wing of the White House was evacuated amid threats of terrorism. And another explosion rocked New York about an hour after the crash. Authorities went on alert from coast to coast, halting all air traffic, evacuating high-profile buildings and tightening security at strategic installations. Evacuations were ordered at the United Nations in New York and at the Sears Tower in Chicago. Los Angeles mobilized its anti-terrorism division, and security was intensified around the naval facilities in Hampton Roads, Virginia. One of the planes that crashed into the Trade Center was American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked after take-off from Boston en route to Los Angeles, the airline said. The planes blasted fiery, gaping holes in the upper floors of the twin towers. A witness said that he saw bodies falling and people jumping out. About an hour later, the southern tower collapsed; the other tower fell about a half-hour after that. Several subway lines were immediately shut down. Trading on Wall Street was suspended. New York's mayoral primary election was postponed. All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan were closed down.

11 September 2001, London – A press report, dated today: 08.55, EDT, 12.55, UTC, aircraft crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. 09.05, EDT, a second aircraft crashes into its twin south tower, causing a devastating explosion. 09.20, EDT, the FBI investigates reports of aircraft being hijacked before the World Trade Center crashes. 09.29, EDT, first reports of casualties indicate that at least six people were killed, with at least 1,000 injured. But 50,000 workers are based at the Trade Center. 09.30, EDT, US President George Bush declares: "We have had a national tragedy. Two aircraft have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country." 09.32, EDT, American Airlines tells BBC News Online that one of the aircraft was a 767 from Boston to Los Angeles with 81 passengers, nine flight attendants and two pilots on board. The other was a Boeing 757 from Washington Dulles airport to Los Angeles with 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots on board. 09.43, EDT, Abu Dhabi television reports that it received a call from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claiming responsibility for crashing two aircraft into the WTC. However, leading officials later deny the claim. 09.43, EDT, another aircraft, with 64 passengers and crew on board, crashes into the Pentagon in Washington. The nerve centre of the US military bursts into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapses. 09.45, EDT, the White House and The Capitol are evacuated amid further threats. 09.50, EDT, all airports across the USA shut down. 1007, EDT, the south tower of the World Trade Centre tower collapses. 10.25, EDT, car bomb reported to have exploded outside the State Department in Washington. 10.27, EDT, the north tower of the World Trade Center collapses. 10.30, EDT, it emerges that an aircraft has crashed close to Somerset County Airport near Pittsburgh. United Airlines later confirms that it was Flight 93, bound for San Francisco from Newark, New Jersey. 12.33, EDT, United Airlines confirms that a second of its aircraft has crashed at an unknown location. 13.20, EDT, Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and is flown to Omutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

13.44, EDT, the Pentagon says that five battleships and two aircraft carriers will be deployed along the east coast to provide upgraded air defence for the New York and Washington areas. 13.50, EDT, Washington, DC Mayor Anthony Williams declares a state of emergency in the US federal capital. 14.00, EDT, All US stock markets are closed for the afternoon, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announces. 14.48, EDT, New York's mayor Rudy Giuliani says that the eventual death toll from the attack may be "more than any of us can bear." 16.25, EDT, The American Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange say that they will remain closed today. 16.30 EDT President Bush leaves Omutt Air Force Base aboard Air Force One to return to Washington, where he will make a nationally televised address. 17.20, EDT, 47-storey building adjacent to the ruins of the World Trade Center collapses.

12 September 2001, London – A press report, dated September 11, states: Details on the aircraft that crashed today: American Airlines Flight 11: a Boeing 767 en’route from Boston to Los Angeles, carrying 81 passengers, nine flight attendants and two pilots. The location of the crash has not been determined. American Airlines Flight 77: a Boeing 757 en route from Dulles Airport near Washington to Los Angeles, carrying 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots. The location of the crash has not been determined. United Airlines Flight 93: a Boeing 757, crashed south-east of Pittsburgh while en route from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, carrying 38 passengers, two pilots and five flight attendants. United Airlines Flight 175: a Boeing 767. The flight was bound from Boston to Los Angeles, carrying 56 passengers, two pilots and seven flight attendants. The airline would not say where the aircraft crashed.

12 September 2001, London – A press report, dated September 11, states:

"Closures and evacuations nation-wide in response to today's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington:

"Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration shuts airports nation-wide. Commercial air traffic restrictions to be lifted tomorrow at noon EST, at the earliest –’Greyhound cancels bus service in the northeast. Bus terminals closed within one mile of federal office buildings. Service later resumed except in Washington; New York City; Newark, New Jersey and Norfolk, Virginia – Amtrak suspends train service along the north-east corridor between Boston and Washington, DC; limited service later restored – Manhattan subway lines shut down for hours; reopens with limited service. Bridges and tunnels into Manhattan reopen with limited entry.

"Ports: Port of New York/New Jersey closes. – Port Everglades closes, orders three tankers to depart the port, and refuses permission for a number of cargo vessels to arrive, but permits three cruise vessels to arrive – Coast Guard vessels escorted ships entering California ports and inspectors checked cargo before allowing entry into Long Beach and Los Angeles – Petrochemical complexes in Houston are put on high alert. The refineries located in Deer Park, Texas, are one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world. All non-essential personnel were told to go home. A 24-hour command centre has been set up around Shell and everyone coming in and out of the complexes is checked by security personnel. Most of the surrounding plants are following the same procedure, as well as beefing up security – Louisiana's Offshore Oil Port handling super-tankers in the Gulf of Mexico suspends operations – US section of the St Lawrence Seaway closed –’Security for Great Lakes shipping tightened. Coast Guard inspecting ships at St Mary's River, which links Lakes Huron and Superior.

"Borders: Tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, reopened to car traffic at 15.00, EST after being closed for 4.5 hours. Security tightened at all US-Canada border crossings, including the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge – Ports of entry along the US-Mexico border remain open with officials on high security alert.

"Military/police: Space shuttle operations halted. Some 12,000 employees of Kennedy Space Center in Florida sent home –’non-essential personnel from the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, South Carolina, evacuated and some 1,700 workers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center sent home – The National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, evacuates non-essential personnel and heightens security – Montana's Big Sky resort locked down, highway blocked and 20 National Guard troops brought in to secure a meeting of the emergency management directors –’Oklahoma police created a one-block perimeter around jail where bombing conspirator Terry Nichols housed.

"Markets: All US financial markets close today. The New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, Nasdaq Stock Market and Chicago Board Options Exchange to remain closed through at least tomorrow.

"Bridges and dams: There was heightened monitoring of all bridges and dams – Grand Coulee Dam and powerhouse in central Washington state locked down, tours cancelled and visitor centre closed – Hoover Dam on Nevada-Arizona line closed, including highway that crosses it –’Heightened security at Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

"Buildings closed: United Nations building evacuated – The Sandia and Los Alamos National laboratories in New Mexico close –’General Motors Corp. gives 6,000 employees at Detroit's Renaissance Center headquarters the day off – Ford Motor Co. closes world headquarters in Dearborn –’Michigan's Internal Revenue Service closed its 18 tax offices and sends 1,600 employees home – Sears Tower shut down in Chicago –’Louisiana closes 34-floor Capital building –’51-storey IDS Centre closed in Minneapolis, as is the Mall of America in suburban Bloomington and World Trade Center in St Paul – The Israeli embassy in Washington evacuates all but department heads – Illinois casinos close 16.00 hrs, to reopen tomorrow – Numerous schools, state and federal buildings close nation-wide.

"Elections/government: New York City's mayoral primary election postponed. Syracuse and Buffalo elections also delayed –’Southern Governors' Association cancels annual fall meeting – Democratic National Committee cancels meetings to begin Thursday (September 13) in Miami.

"Sports/entertainment: All 15 major league baseball games postponed today – Major League soccer postpones four Wednesday (September 12) night games.

"In Los Angeles, tonight's Latin Grammy ceremony cancelled, Sunday's (September 16) Emmys postponed.

"Tourist attractions: All Broadway shows cancelled – In Florida, Walt Disney World evacuates and closes four theme parks and shopping and entertainment complex –’Philadelphia Liberty Bell and Independence Hall closed – Seattle's Space Needle evacuated and closed – New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art shut down –’In California, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, the Museum of Tolerance and the Library Tower in Los Angeles shut down – The Oklahoma City National Memorial shuts down – New Mexico State Fair closed; horse races cancelled."

12 September 2001 – Rescue workers in New York and Washington are in the harrowing and treacherous process of picking through the rubble of the devastated World Trade Center and the Pentagon, searching for survivors in the darkness. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has declared the lower part of Manhattan off-limits to civilians until at least tomorrow, while 2,000 rescue workers comb through the wreckage of the centre's twin towers. The rescue of two police officers who were pulled from the rubble has sparked hopes that others will be found alive – there are some reports of trapped people making frantic calls for help from their mobile phones. More than 300 fire-fighters who were sent to fight the blaze at the World Trade Center have been reported missing, believed to have been trapped in the towers when they collapsed. Dozens of police officers are also feared missing. Fire-fighters were still battling a fire on the west side of the 29-acre, six million-square-foot building late yesterday, more than 12 hours after the crash. Washington hospitals reported 71 people injured, some severely. Pentagon officials said that it would take days to search the damaged section of the building. They said that it was difficult to estimate how many of the 20,000 people who work at the Pentagon were in the part of the building that was hit. The building suffered widespread damage on its fourth, fifth and sixth corridors. In response to the attack, the US Navy despatched aircraft carriers and guided missile destroyers to New York and Washington and President Bush put the military on its highest level of alert. That decision has been followed by similar moves by national governments around the globe. NATO's Brussels headquarters and the allied forces headquarters at Mons, also in Belgium, have been placed on a state of maximum alert. Moscow stepped up security across the country and halted all flights to the USA. The forces of the country's interior ministry were also put on a state of maximum readiness. In France, armed troops were deployed at airports and metro stations. Border controls have increased. The Japanese Deputy Defence Minister, Takemasa Moriya, said that Japan would step up security measures around US bases in Japan, including the Misawa air-base, and the Iwakuni Marine air base. Air traffic around the USA was halted for the first time in history and air force fighters were ordered to attack any suspicious aircraft flying in US airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered all outbound flights grounded and said that the ban would not be lifted until noon EST, today, at the earliest. The move affected 36,000 to 40,000 flights that take off in the USA daily, as well as general aviation flights. Around the nation, airports were put under heightened security. Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airports were evacuated except for essential personnel, according to officials. Boston's Logan International Airport – the departure point for two of the doomed aircraft – underwent a security sweep. At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, passengers were barred from entering the gated areas, and police patrolled with dogs. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, concourses were closed and flights were cancelled until 07.00, today. Denver's airport is closed for 24 hours, according to the media information line. The airport's concourses were evacuated and major roads to the airport were closed. In New Orleans, passengers were not allowed into the airport, but it was not evacuated. At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, hundreds of people were stranded. All domestic commercial flights had reached their destinations by early yesterday afternoon, according to the FAA. Dozens of intercontinental flights bound for the USA flew to Canada instead, where the military was put on alert and major government and tourist sites were closed, including Parliament Hill in the capital, Ottawa, and the tall CN Tower in Toronto. The US Embassy was closed and under increased security. The USA's cancellations and diversions also caused confusion and congestion at many European airports, where airlines ordered flights bound for the USA to do U-turns or find alternate landing-points outside the USA. Air-space closures were also implemented by the UK and Belgium, where commercial flights over their capitals of London and Brussels were banned. British Airways has also suspended flights to Tel Aviv and Islamabad. Israel closed its air-space to foreign airplanes and evacuated staff from diplomatic missions and Jewish institutions around the globe. The US State Department gave US embassies world-wide the authority to close and urged them to take all necessary security precautions. Several US embassies in the Middle East decided to close indefinitely. In Cairo, Egypt, the US Embassy decided to suspend non-essential operations at government facilities in Cairo and Alexandria today, according to a message posted on the Embassy Web site. The embassies in Yemen, Kuwait and Oman and the United Arab Emirates announced that, as of today, they were closing indefinitely. The embassy in Qatar was undecided. The US Embassy in Kuwait was closing as a sign of mourning, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported. In Zagreb, Croatia, the embassy said that it was closing today "out of respect for the victims of the tragic terrorist incidents." In Berlin and Istanbul streets around the US Embassy were sealed off by police cars. The US Embassy in London said that it was continuing "business as usual" The US Embassy in Sweden closed early yesterday and was to remain closed to the public today. The down-town building and the ambassador's residence were cordoned off by riot police. The US Embassy in Japan decided to remain shut today. The US Embassy in Paris was closed and will remain shut again today. The US Embassy in Rome sent staff home early, while Spain threw cordons around the US and Israeli embassies and the Palestinian representation. Romanian special forces cordoned off the US Embassy in Bucharest, which shut down for two days last week after unspecified threats to security, as well as the Israeli Embassy. Greece ordered a security alert at the US embassy in Athens and other potential US targets, including schools. In Kuala Lumpur, thousands of workers and shoppers were evacuated from the world's tallest building, the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers. Police bomb squads found no explosives in the 88-storey towers and people were allowed back to all floors shortly before noon (04.00, UTC), a little over three hours after the threat. Just as the Petronas Towers were declared safe, a threat was phoned in to the IBM building in Kuala Lumpur. Some 2,000 people were evacuated as police combed the 24-storey landmark, which houses the offices of IBM Malaysia, Standard Chartered Bank and other firms. Last-minute calls from terrified passengers may help US officials investigating the attacks. Reports suggest that hijackers armed with knives took over three aircraft, before forcing them to crash into targets in New York and Washington. A fourth hijacked aircraft crashed into the ground near Pittsburgh. Reports of the passengers' cell phone calls suggest that the hijackers stabbed flight attendants before taking control of the aircraft. One of the 266 passengers on the four jets was Barbara Olson, wife of senior Justice Department official Theodore Olson. She called her husband moments before American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in Washington. Mrs Olson is reported to have told her husband that the attackers used knife-like instruments to overpower the flight crew. A businessman on a United Airlines flight which left Boston called his father twice before the aircraft hit New York's World Trade Center, a US official said. Reports say that the man, who has not been named, made two calls. In one he said that a stewardess had been stabbed. In the second he told his father that the aircraft was "going down". An American Airlines source has said that a flight attendant on the second airliner to plunge into the World Trade Center managed to call an emergency number. The flight attendant is also said to have reported that her fellow attendants had been stabbed, the cabin had been overpowered, and that they were going down in New York. The Christian Science Monitor reported that air traffic controllers heard hijackers instructing the pilots in English from inside the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. One passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 locked himself in one of the aircraft's toilets and called 911 from his cell phone to report the hijacking. Reports say he managed to say: "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked", before the aircraft crashed into the ground near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

12 September 2001, London – A press report, dated today, states: Shipping traffic is slowed on the Great Lakes, in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. The US section of the St Lawrence Seaway, including the Eisenhower and Snell Locks, was closed yesterday to prevent international ships from entering or leaving US waters. The Canadian locks in the Seaway and Welland Canal remained open for traffic. Today, it was announced that authorities would stop all foreign-registered vessels prior to transit through the locks for inspection. About noon yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers closed the Soo Locks to salt-water vessels. The Corps announced today that it will allow the vessels passage through the locks on an individual basis as approved by the Coast Guard. The closure did not affect US and Canadian lake vessels. Coast Guard vessels with armed personnel patrolled the St Mary's River yesterday. Shipping in lower Lake Huron and the St Clair River was stopped yesterday, as no vessel was permitted to pass under the Blue Water Bridges that connect Port Huron and Sarnia. This restriction was lifted for US and Canadian vessels that evening.

12 September 2001, Miami – The suspension of US commercial flights in the wake of yesterday's attacks in New York and Washington is creating waves for North America's big cruise lines, which are reliant on airlines for just-in-time delivery of many passengers. Carnival Cruise Lines delayed for at least one day the scheduled departure today from Vancouver of passenger Carnival Spirit, because her estimated 1,800 passengers could get neither flights home nor lodging in the city. Seattle-based Holland America said that the air system disruptions obliged it to cancel a seven-day Alaska sailing of its 1,477-passenger Westerdam from Vancouver scheduled for tomorrow. "The guests on board Westerdam are being advised that all who have air connections may stay on board at no charge until alternate travel arrangements can be made," Holland America said in a news release. P&O Princess postponed the scheduled departure from Istanbul of its Golden Princess, because disembarking passengers cannot get outbound flights. "Owing to continuing air travel delays, Golden Princess's next sailing will be postponed for 36 hours," the line said in a Web site announcement. "Passengers on board the current sailing will be invited to remain on board until they can be accommodated on outbound flights." New passengers for Golden Princess were now expected to board on Saturday for a shortened itinerary, which eliminates planned stops at Kusadasi and Athens. Cruise executives said that the share of passengers flying to a port for cruise holiday varies greatly, with itineraries such as that of Carnival Spirit of seven days or longer usually having smaller numbers of passengers driving to a vessel. "The vessel is essentially a hotel now," said Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher of Carnival Spirit. "The majority of people on the last cruise cannot leave." Gallagher said that three Carnival vessels scheduled to leave Florida ports for three- or four-day cruises tomorrow had high shares of non-flying passengers and would leave as scheduled. But, he said, Carnival executives were watching closely the air market system for possible effects on sailings for some 16,000 people scheduled to begin cruises on Saturday and Sunday from ports in California, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico. Todd Putman, a Princess vice president, said that the line was also closely watching for a resumption of normal air schedules. "It's a very fluid situation," he said. US government officials late today authorised a limited reopening of US air space but stopped well short of OKing full resumption of the roughly 40,000 flight departures each day. Royal Caribbean said in a news release that its Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises vessels were keeping to planned schedules. A spokesman was not immediately available to comment on air connections for its passengers. Heather Sheats, a spokeswoman for Norwegian Cruise Line, said that it had encountered no problems caused by the flights suspension. Instead, NCL is worried that it may have to change the itinerary of its passenger Norwegian Sea, due in the port of New York on Sunday.

13 September 2001, London – A press report, dated September 12, states: The Bush administration said that it was continuing a virtual ban on air travel today until the safety of all passengers could be ensured. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told reporters that he could give neither a time nor a date for full resumption of air service. He said that it was decided to indefinitely postpone full restoration of service after aviation officials discussed security problems with the FBI and intelligence agencies. Mineta did say that passengers stranded in flights amid yesterday's terrorist attacks would be allowed to fly to their original destinations. But the general grounding of flights continues, he emphasised. Mineta said that, in addition to permitting stranded passengers to get to their destinations, the government would allow airlines to reposition empty aircraft for eventual resumption of normal operations. The FAA, at the same time, was hurrying to put into effect new, more stringent security procedures. Mineta had said earlier today that all diverted flights, including international flights that landed in Canada, would be allowed to fly to their original destinations. Only passengers originally on those flights could re-board. Some passengers have been unable to leave their airplanes since they were diverted to Canada yesterday. When they arrive at airports, passengers will find security at its highest level since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. For example, according to transportation, airline and airport officials: Passengers must go to the ticket counter to check their baggage. There will no longer be kerb-side or off-airport check-ins. Passengers will have to be met at the security screening stations rather than the airport gate. Only passengers will be allowed through the check-points. Passengers will no longer be able to bring any knives or cutting tools aboard aircraft.

13 September 2001, London – A press report, dated today, states: The Port of Boston became a cruise vessel refuge yesterday after New York's chief passenger Germinal was turned into a temporary depot for military equipment depot following Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Several hundred passengers were detoured to Black Falcon Terminal about noon after their floating technology conference, on board passenger Aurora, was unable to return to the passenger vessel terminal at 55th Street on the Hudson River in Manhattan. Massachusetts Port Authority officials said that they expect several thousand additional passengers to arrive this weekend on board other vessels, including passenger Queen Elizabeth 2. The situation could last a month or longer, said Massport's Michael Leone, director of the Port of Boston. "We're helping where we can", he said. Freight shipments may not be affected as dramatically, Leone said. Container vessels often visit multiple Eastern Seaboard ports and could juggle their schedules to avoid New York. That would still prove expensive to shippers and their customers, however. Aurora, owned by P&O Cruises, was chartered by Richmond Events Inc. to carry up to 400 people for a several-day conference on information technology, in and around New York Harbor. The vessel was due to return to the dock in Manhattan at about the same time the World Trade Center was destroyed. Barred by officials anxious to keep the docks clear, the vessel was directed to Boston and steamed in at about midday. EMC Corp., of Hopkinton, arranged for about five buses to help carry passengers back to New York, said company spokeswoman Anne Pace. Massport's Leone said cruise companies need to arrange transportation themselves to carry passengers back to their starting points. Some vessels that make weekly runs to or from New York might now use Boston as a temporary home port. In coming days, Leone said, tentative arrangements call for the Carnival's passenger Carnival Victory to arrive with perhaps 3,000 passengers; Queen Elizabeth 2, with about 1,500; and a Princess Cruises vessel with several hundred people. Representatives of the companies could not be reached for comment yesterday evening. The Port of Boston can handle up to five dockings at once, Leone said; ports in New Jersey and Philadelphia will also likely be used for diverted vessels.

12 September, 2001, New York – Oil flows into the USA were running safely today, government and energy industry officials said. Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the biggest US oil terminal, resumed operations today after closing briefly yesterday as a precautionary measure. Sea-borne oil supplies to the USA were steaming uninterrupted across the Atlantic today, shippers said, while key West Coast ports were also open on a heightened state of alert. New York Harbor remained closed to commercial traffic. Security has been stepped up at the four US Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites in Texas and Louisiana, the firm which manages the sites said today.

12 September 2001, Anchorage – Oil loading resumed at the terminal of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System early today after a suspension prompted by security concerns, the system's operator said. The US Coast Guard gave clearance for tankers to be loaded with crude oil from the pipeline, said Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the consortium that operates the 800-mile oil line and its Valdez terminal. Loading operations began today on two tankers, Overseas Chicago and Alaska, Alyeska said. A Coast Guard spokesman in Valdez said that the port was at full operation today, with no restrictions. Loading had been shut down and the Valdez terminal evacuated yesterday.

12 September 2001, London – Boeing 767-223 N334AA, American Airlines flight 11 was en route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, when it was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center building in down-town Manhattan; the aircraft was destroyed and all 92 persons on board, 81 passengers and 11 crew, were killed. Boeing 767-222 N612UA, United Airlines flight 175 was en route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, when it was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in downtown Manhattan and was destroyed; all 65 persons on board, 56 passengers and nine crew were killed. Boeing 757-223 N644AA, American Airlines flight 77 was en route from Washington-Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles, California, when it was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon; the aircraft was destroyed and all 64 persons on board, 58 passengers and six crew, were killed. Boeing 757-222 N591UA, United Airlines flight 93 was en’route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, when it was hijacked and crashed south of Indian Lake Airport; the aircraft was destroyed, and debris was scattered over a two-mile area; all 45 persons on board, 38 passengers and seven crew, were killed.

11 September 2001, New York – Two aircraft crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York as office workers began work this morning, causing huge explosions, eyewitnesses said. TV reports said that several people were killed. President George W. Bush called it an "apparent terrorist attack," and ordered a full-scale investigation. A Palestinian group claimed responsibility, Abu Dhabi television said. New York 1 television quoted law enforcement officials as saying that the two aircraft were hijacked flights from Boston. CNN said that one of them was an American Airlines plane. The tops of both towers of the lower Manhattan landmark were burning after the crashes.

14 September 2001 – Rubble from the World Trade Center litters the roofs of buildings blocks away, and a 45-storey skyscraper in the seven-building complex lies in a heap on its side. The San Francisco airports were re-opened. Chicago's O'Hare opened by afternoon, as did smaller Midway Airport. At Boston's Logan International Airport officials said that they did not know how long it would take to meet the new security guidelines set by the Federal Aviation Administration. The mayor's office in Cleveland, Ohio, said that the city's Hopkins airport was expected to begin flying almost immediately after the FAA lifted a ban on flying. But initial flights were only "touch and go" test flights, the office said. Overall, only a fraction of the 4,000 commercial airplanes that operate on a daily basis in the USA were expected to take off yesterday. Airline officials quickly realised the magnitude of the problem, both logistical and financial, now facing the global commercial aviation industry. William Gaillard, spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, said that the industry could face world-wide losses of US$10 billion this week alone. A veteran US airline analyst, Sam Buttrick of UBS Warburg, said that, if all aircraft are parked, US airlines would lose about US$120 million per day. The US Trade Association for Airlines was lobbying hard for changes, as its members haemorrhage money and travellers were thinking twice about flying.

14 September 2001, London – Investigators are reported to have found one of the "black boxes" from United Airlines Flight 93, the hijacked airliner that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania two days ago. Commercial aircraft carry two of the boxes: a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder. It is not known which of the two devices was recovered. In Washington, signals are being picked up from a flight data recorder from American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. Officials said that they were zeroing in on the aircraft's black boxes, which could shed new light on the attack.

14 September 2001, London – Both black boxes from the hijacked aircraft which crashed into the Pentagon have been found, a Pentagon official has said. The flight data and voice recorders have been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration for examination. The discovery of the black boxes at the Pentagon follows yesterday's recovery of the flight data recorder from the hijacked aircraft that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was found in a crater created by the impact of the crash. The flight's voice recorder has not yet been found.

15 September 2001, London – 14 September 2001, LondonBoston's Logan International Airport reopened today, leaving Reagan National Airport at Washington the only major US airport still closed to travel following Tuesday's (September 11) terrorist attacks. Federal officials also reopened the skies to most private aircraft for the first time since grounding them. Limited air travel resumed over the country Thursday and was lurching toward normality Friday. At Logan, the first flight was due to arrive by mid-morning from Chicago, airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said. Travellers everywhere faced long lines, delays and limited service, as airports implemented aircraft that pierced the twin towers did far more than bring them down. Chunks of debris and twisted metal soared through the air, leaving gaping holes in some of the surrounding office buildings that rise 40 storeys and higher above the streets of New York's financial district. Other tall structures that housed some of the world's most important financial institutions appeared to need repairs that may be time-consuming but basic: broken windows, lobbies and offices covered with dust and soot. Two days after the terrorist strike, a full assessment of the damage to buildings around the Trade Center still had not taken place. Authorities yesterday concentrated on looking for people still alive, rescuing two fire-fighters trapped briefly in an underground air-pocket, and taking away remains of the dead. Under the wreckage of one Trade Center building, contractor Jack Barrett looked into a basement mall, seeing a camera shop that appeared relatively intact, and another store with Halloween masks still on display. At the Border's bookstore, novels were still on the racks. Information on damage to the large office buildings nearby that used to stand in the shadows of the twin towers was confusing and contradictory. For example, Wednesday night, the owner of One Liberty Plaza disputed reports that the 53-storey building, home to the administrative offices of the Nasdaq Stock Market, had sustained structural damage. Most of the work required to reopen the building involved window and lobby repairs, said officials of Brookfield Properties Corp. Yesterday afternoon, rescue workers fled after they thought that they saw the top ten to 12 floors of the building buckle, according to John Smith, a 41-year-old telephone repairman, who said that he was at the scene. Denis Couture, a Brookfield Properties spokesman, said that Smith must have been talking about another building – or that the rescue workers did not see what they thought they saw, perhaps because of distorted visibility with so much soot and smoke in the air. Two independent structural engineers examined the building yesterday and found it sound, Couture said. Also, New York officials asked for and received permission to continue using its lobby to coordinate rescue efforts, he said. "The buildings that are still standing have not been found to be structurally unsafe," Mayor Rudy Giuliani said yesterday evening, adding that inspectors had been in lower Manhattan that day. A block away, there were 75 broken windows at the soot-covered Hilton Millennium hotel across the street from the Trade Center. Hotel officials have been unable to send engineers inside to assess damage, but New York authorities told them that the building "appears to be structurally sound," said Hilton spokesman Mark Grossman. The Bankers Trust office building had a 20-foot hole in its façade. Next door, at 90 West Street, chunks of debris fell off the building yesterday afternoon, making crashing noises as they bounced off scaffolding apparently in place because of renovations, witnesses said. In Verizon's switching building, girders from a crumbling skyscraper plunged through brick walls, smashing computer equipment and allowing a half-inch layer of dust to filter inside, company spokesman Jim Smith said. The station controls 40 per cent of lower Manhattan's telephone lines and 20 per cent of those used by the New York Stock Exchange. A long, glass-covered pedestrian walkway linking the Trade Center to the sprawling World Financial Center had crashed on a highway below, making it difficult for heavy equipment operators to get around the disaster scene. One of the World Financial Center's four office towers appeared to have caved in near the building's pinnacle. The damaged tower is co-owned by American Express. "There has been some damage, but we don't have any official assessment of it and we expect that we will not have occupancy for several months," said company spokeswoman Nancy Muller.

14 September 2001 – All three of New York city's airports have been closed, just hours after re-opening this morning. US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that three people have been detained at one of the airports – John F. Kennedy. Tighter security measures are causing turbulence for the global airline industry, as it tries to resume limited US flights. Airports began to open in the USA, although incoming foreign flights remained banned. Some domestic flights landed without incident, while others were scheduled and then delayed. Still others were turned away. Normal operations looked days or even weeks away. Many US airlines moved aircraft to where they needed them for very limited, revised operations on domestic routes. Initial trans-Atlantic flights from European carriers were turned away even after they were en’route. Italian flag carrier Alitalia took off from Rome bound for New York but then turned around. A TAP-Air Portugal flight also turned back to Lisbon, as the Federal Aviation Administration said that it would only accept international flights from US carriers. Travellers who arrived at US airports hoping to fly were greeted by tighter security. No electronic tickets were valid, no kerb-side check-in allowed. Passengers were warned to arrive at least two hours before departure time. Some airlines like Air France simply cancelled flights, not yet ready to implement the new stringent security measures. Two Air France flights had been scheduled to go to New York, one to Atlanta and one to Washington. London's City Airport was likely to reopen on Friday. But a spokesman said that flight paths would be changed to avoid the nearby Canary Wharf. United Airlines had planned to resume some limited service but at midday announced that there would be no normal scheduled service, domestic or international, until Friday. At Dallas/Fort Worth about 30 flights were expected to take off around 06.00 hrs. Delta Air Lines flights were expected to resume on a very limited basis today, while smaller carriers like JetBlue Airways were on a reduced schedule, resuming just 14 of 84 scheduled flights. At Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport flights were resuming but on a very limited basis, said spokesman Benjamin DeCosta. Airports at Miami, Minneapolis and San Francisco were re-opened. Travellers everywhere faced long lines, delays and limited services as airports implemented mandatory federal security measures, including a ban on kerb-side check-in and limited access to ticketed passengers beyond security screening points. Federal authorities said Friday that Reagan National Airport will eventually reopen, but its proximity to the Pentagon and other federal buildings created enough security concern to keep it closed for now. Private aircraft also remain banned from flying within about 30 miles of Washington, DC, and New York City. Washington-Dulles International Airport and Newark International Airport reopened Thursday. Some terminals at New York's Kennedy International Airport looked like ghost towns, with restaurants shut down and only an occasional taxi passing outside. Others were mobbed with travellers, some of whom had spent days sleeping on cots and eating out of vending-machines. Lines hundreds of passengers-long snaked through the check-in area of one Newark terminal shortly after it reopened Friday. By evening, 38 flights had taken off and 23 had landed, said Ralph Tregale, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport. At Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport, operations were slowed by airline delays and cancellations. Only about half of the normal 400 to 600 flights were available, said Hopkins spokeswoman Natalia Martinovic. At Honolulu International Airport, passengers faced an hour wait at state agriculture X-rays, an hour to check in with their airlines and another hour at the security check before proceeding to their gates. A total of 14 empty aircraft from Japanese airlines were ferried in to pick up some 3,000 stranded Japanese tourists, said Marilyn Kali, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. Armed guards from the Hawaii National Guard who began patrolling the airport concourse Thursday were still there Friday. The decision to reopen the nation's skies to most private aircraft involved some 200,000 planes that had been grounded along with the jetliners. Under the arrangements the government announced, general aviation pilots must file flight plans with the Federal Aviation Administration and be directed by air traffic controllers. Private aircraft using airports without control towers will remain grounded, though Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said that those flights will likely resume soon. Some private flights that did take to the skies this week were ordered down by fighter jets. Two F-16 fighter jets forced a small aircraft to land at Monroe County Airport in Indiana for violating the flight ban. In Vermont, fighter jets intercepted an aircraft flying low over a nuclear plant. It turned out to be a small UPS delivery aircraft.

16 September 2001, Karachi – Pakistan's government said today that it is tightening security measures with the help of military forces at all important government and private sectors installations, including airports, refineries, storage and handling facilities at Karachi and Port Qasim, pipelines, oil- and gas-fields, important buildings, nuclear and other power plants following a threat from Afghanistan that it may attack any country supporting the USA in action against it, according to government. officials. They said that the situation had arisen when Pakistan yesterday announced that it would extend full cooperation to the international community in its fight against terrorism without involving its forces in any action beyond its geographical boundaries. It may be mentioned here that the Pakistan National Security Council and federal cabinet, in their four hours' meeting yesterday, reached consensus on the policy of lending full support to the world community in combating international terrorism. According to a Pakistan television report, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar told a news conference yesterday that the government has received a list of proposals which had been given by the USA to Pakistan. However, he did not disclose the specific measures which the USA wanted Pakistan to take to facilitate it in carrying out an operation against the "prime suspect". He said the government was in the process of discussion with the US authorities with regard to specific proposals. The foreign minister said that the government was also consulting China, Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries, according to a PTV report. As regards the threats hurled by the Taliban government that they would retaliate against the country from where the USA would launch attacks on its soil, he said that the matter was being discussed with Kabul.

17 September 2001, London – New York Harbor reopened to limited commercial traffic late last week, while most other major US ports operated under greatly heightened security. The US Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New York and New Jersey in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey re-opened the harbor, allowing limited commercial vessel traffic into the harbour's "safety zone" on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Captain of the Port.

17 September 2001, London – Golf's Ryder Cup has been postponed for a year in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the USA. The competition between Europe and the USA's top golfers was due to take place at The Belfry at the end of September. Instead, the European Ryder Cup Board confirmed that it hoped to stage the tournament at the same venue, with the same team and captains, in 12 months' time.

17 September 2001, London – Diverted from New York by last week's terrorist attacks, a flotilla of passenger vessels sailed to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal yesterday and turned Boston's port into one of the country's busiest. Cunard Line's Caronia and Queen Elizabeth 2 discharged thousands of passengers to a fleet of buses headed for New York's airports. Passengers from several other vessels, including Pacific Princess and Norwegian Majesty, also disembarked at the terminal over the weekend. The vessels usually sail from piers in mid-town Manhattan, which are now being put to other tasks: some as military depots, others as temporary morgues. Officials at the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs the cruise terminal, said that they cannot estimate how long the situation will last. Queen Elizabeth 2 disgorged most of her 1,500 passengers yesterday, according to Cunard. A similar number of passengers was booked to depart from New York over the weekend, but only about 1,000 were expected to make it for the Boston departure, set for early this morning. Other passengers were offered refunds or credits for later cruises. A bomb scare early yesterday morning shut down harbour services for hours.

18 September 2001, Washington/ New York – A week after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington which left more than 5,000 people dead or missing, Afghanistan gave mixed signals over the fate of prime suspect Osama bin Laden, whom President George W. Bush said he wants "dead or alive." Some reports said that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban might be prepared to hand over the Saudi-born exile under certain conditions, including trial in a neutral Islamic country. As many Americans observed a moment of silence at 08.48, EDT, exactly one week after the first aircraft slammed into the World Trade Center, investors held their breath to see if US share prices would again plunge today after Wall Street suffered its largest point loss ever. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans said that Bush was considering direct financial aid to help US airlines reeling from the fall-out of last week's aerial attacks on New York and Washington. Airline shares suffered the heaviest selling yesterday. With lay-offs already under way, airline executives were due to meet with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta today to review a request for $24 billion in government aid. While Bush sought to build a strong international coalition for a possible attack on Afghanistan, which harbours bin Laden as a "guest," some world leaders who condemned the attacks sounded alarm bells at the prospect of US military strikes. Washington's NATO allies have generally voiced full support for a declaration of war on terrorism, but China said that any US military action should avoid harming innocent people and should respect international law. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose country is a key US ally, in the Middle East, has also said the USA should think twice before taking military action that would kill civilians. And Germany, a key US ally voiced caution. "We need to react with a cool head," Joachim Fischer said. Reports in Pakistani newspapers raised the possibility that the Taliban could be ready for negotiations. The Taliban might be prepared to give bin Laden up under certain conditions, according to reports in the Nation and Jang newspapers. The conditions included the trial of bin Laden in a neutral Islamic country, lifting of UN sanctions against the Taliban, economic assistance and suspension of foreign aid and military supplies to the Afghan opposition, said the reports. But a senior Afghan cleric also said that the Taliban would launch a jihad or holy war against the USA, if it attacks militarily, although officials of the Islamic movement quickly said that the final decision lay with a council of clerics due to convene this week. That council today postponed for 24 hours a discussion on the fate of bin Laden. A Pakistani delegation is in the Afghan capital of Kabul, trying to convince the Taliban that it must hand over bin Laden or face a US strike. Preparing the nation for a long, hard war and vowing justice for those killed in the co-ordinated assaults, Bush issued a warning to the Taliban. "All I can tell you is that Osama bin Laden is a prime suspect, and the people who house him, encourage him, provide food, comfort or money are on notice," Bush said, adding: "And the Taliban must take my statement seriously." Governments around the world tightened security at borders, airports and military bases. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank cancelled, due to security concerns, their flagship annual meetings due to be held at the end of September in Washington. European Union leaders said that they would hold an emergency summit on Friday (September 21) on the unfolding drama. The toll in the World Trade Center attack stood at 5,422 missing today, with 201 confirmed dead, after six days of rescue efforts in the ruins of the 110-storey twin towers. Of the dead, only 135 have been identified. Another 188 people died at the Pentagon, and 45 were killed in the crash of the fourth aircraft in Pennsylvania. Nerves were frayed on Wall Street, where yesterday's bid to restart the USA's financial heart after its longest closure since the Great Depression unleashed a stampede of selling. After a day of wild trading, the Dow Jones industrial index plummeted 684.81 points, or more than 7 per cent, its biggest one-day point-drop ever. There were signs of hope in Asia, where Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average ended up 1.85 per cent at 9,679.8, but fears of war and economic gloom pushed shares lower in Europe. Caution persisted, with many financiers worried that a US campaign against global terror could hit buying power world-wide. The FBI is following up 47,000 potential leads regarding the attacks. Officials have named 19 men they say used knives and box-cutters to commandeer the four commercial airliners. US authorities have arrested on sealed warrants at least four witnesses with key information about the attacks or who posed a flight risk. They have detained 49 other people for immigration violations in the course of the investigation. With Washington warning the world that it was time to pick sides, the UK and Italy said that they would contribute militarily if asked. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac, along with a parade of foreign ministers, are due in Washington this week. The US military has slapped a lid of secrecy on its planned retaliation but NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe said today that casualties would be unavoidable. "I don't believe that people should expect a single strike and that would be the end of the problem," Gen. Joseph Ralston told a news conference. "This is a sustained effort over a long period of time by the entire international community."

19 September 2001, Islamabad/Washington – The leader of Afghanistan's Islamic Taliban movement today appealed to the USA for patience in its call for Osama bin Laden to be handed over as a prime suspect in the attacks on New York and Washington and asked to see proof in the case. The USA has warned Afghanistan to surrender the militant Saudi exile, who Washington believes is behind the attacks which left nearly 6,000 people dead and missing, or face the consequences. The Taliban say that bin Laden is their "guest." "We appeal to the US government to exercise complete patience," the Pakistan-based AIP news agency quoted Mullah Mohammad Omar, spiritual leader of the Taliban, as saying in a speech read out to a meeting of hundreds of clerics gathered in the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul. Appearing to rule out any swift hand-over of bin Laden, who has become the world's most wanted man, Omar said: "We want the USA to gather complete information and find the culprits." Evidence could be submitted to the Afghan Supreme Court or to clerics of three Islamic nations, he said. The grand council of clerics, or shura, could decide on what to do about bin Laden and whether to back the call of the Taliban leader for a jihad, or holy war, against the USA if the country is attacked. President George W. Bush has vowed justice for the USA's dead with a war on "terrorism," which is being worked out in secret and will use economic and diplomatic strategies as well as military options that could range from covert operations to ground war. As thousands of Afghans fled cities, fearing a US punishment attack, the United Nations prepared urgent plans to feed and shelter tired and hungry refugees and urged that any attack should be targeted to protect the innocent. Assembling a broad coalition for his campaign that targets bin Laden as a prime suspect in the devastating attacks by airliners on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush will use his persuasive powers today at the White House when dignitaries visit from Asia, Europe and Russia. Pakistani officials left Afghanistan yesterday after trying to convince the Taliban that, if they do not hand over bin Laden, they will face the full wrath of the world's most powerful military force. The Taliban, however, appeared yesterday to shift their opposition to extraditing bin Laden, who was reported to have left Kabul and travelled with his bodyguards to a mountain retreat. "Anyone who is responsible for this act, Osama or not, we will not side with him," said Afghanistan's interior minister. However, in talks with the delegation from Pakistan, the Taliban said that they needed "proof" before they would consider turning bin Laden over for trial in an Islamic country. Newspapers in neighbouring Pakistan said that Afghanistan could be ready to extradite him under certain conditions, one of which was that he be tried in a neutral Islamic nation. The British High Commission in Islamabad told diplomatic dependants and non-essential staff to leave Pakistan. The far-reaching consequences of the attacks were illustrated yesterday when aircraft maker Boeing said that it planned to lay off up to 30,000 workers by the end of 2002. Investors waited for Wall Street today after the Dow Jones industrial average yesterday closed down 17.30 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 8,903.40. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave some insights into Washington's top secret military planning, which officials say will also target the funding that is the life-blood of terror networks. "We are preparing appropriate courses of action. They run across the political and economic and financial, military, intelligence spectrum," he said in Washington. On the question of striking at Afghanistan, one of the world's harshest countries geographically, he said that it would be a difficult military target for any nation. In New York, rescue workers in the twisted rubble of the World Trade Center found nothing but bodies and body parts, and were facing the question of when to end a search for survivors and focus instead on recovering the dead. The list of the missing stood at 5,422 people. Officials said that 189 were dead or missing at the Pentagon, and 45 people died in the fourth aircraft crash in Pennsylvania. US Attorney-General John Ashcroft said that the FBI was investigating whether other aircraft may have been targeted for hijacking in the elaborate plot.

19 September 2001 – A total of 55 insurers have accumulated $14 billion in losses after the World Trade Center disaster. Global credit rating agency Standard and Poor's said that the figure may rise further. S&P said that, once losses exceeded $15 billion, it would expect to see a "significant impact" on the fate of individual firms.

20 September 2001, London – The USA is reported to have issued a list of mainly Islamic states whose seafarers will be barred from disembarking at US ports. Seafarers from Malaysia and Turkey are among those who will not be allowed into the country, if they are on board a vessel entering US waters. The action comes in the wake of last Tuesday's (September 11) terrorist attack on the USA and as stepped-up security has been ordered at all airports, ports and borders in the USA. The London-based International Shipping Federation confirmed last night that it has advised all its members of the reported list. A spokesman for ISF said that the US for a long time had a list of countries whose seafarers were barred from entering the country, but they were states like Cuba and Libya. Now, he said, it appears that the US government has extended the list to almost all the Islamic states. There has been no official word from the US authorities, but ISF has advised its members that US Captains of Ports have been instructed to seek a crew list from all vessels wishing to enter US waters, irrespective of flag. Failure to submit the required list would result in the vessel being barred from entry. If seafarers from any of the countries in the list are identified, they will not be allowed to leave the vessel. The following is the full list of countries, whose seafarers are barred from entering the USA: Comoros, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestinian people, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Yugoslavia.

20 September 2001, London – The world's two largest re-insurance groups today doubled their forecast losses from last week's devastating US attacks and warned that the industry faces a record pay-out. Insurance stocks suffered fresh losses as world number one Munich Re hiked forecast attack claims to 2.1 billion euros ($1.95 billion) from 1 billion, while Swiss Re, the second largest, hiked its estimate to about two billion francs ($1.25 billion) from 1.2 billion – also its largest loss ever. Munich said that the likely loss from attacks which flattened the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and part of Washington's Pentagon represented 11.5 per cent of last year's reinsurance premiums.

16 September 2001, London – A press report, dated September 15, states: Airlines undertook drastic cutbacks today, trying to avoid bankruptcy after last week's terrorist attacks, with Continental and Northwest joining American Airlines in slicing schedules by 20 per cent. Continental also furloughed one-fifth of its workforce. The industry, already hurting because of the economic slow-down, lost two days of business when the federal government grounded air traffic after the attacks by hijacked jetliners on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And with the public nervous about flying after the attacks, business is likely to suffer even more in the coming months. The nation's airlines are expected to lose billions of dollars by the end of the year. Analysts say that, without a huge bail-out from the federal government, even the largest carriers could go out of business. Continental chairman and chief executive Gordon Bethune said that reduced demand from fearful travellers, extensive losses from the aviation shut-down and higher expenses from tough new security requirements called for dramatic change. He said that the company, the nation's fifth-largest carrier, has been losing $30 million a day since the attacks and that only 55 per cent of its planes are back in the air, most of them half-empty. "We're taking immediate steps to preserve all the cash we had going into this debacle," Bethune said, estimating that Continental had roughly $800 million on hand. "We are doing this in survival mode." Houston-based Continental currently has more than 56,000 employees on its payroll. "I guess that everybody in the airline industry has had anxiety over this, so it's not totally unexpected," said Jim Moody, spokesman for the Independent Association of Continental Pilots, which represents 7,500 pilots for the airline. Neither American, the nation's largest airline, nor number four Northwest specified how many jobs would be affected by their service cuts. Northwest implemented the cutbacks today and said that it would complete a review of its staffing needs by next week. American announced scaled-back service yesterday. United and Delta, the second- and third-largest airlines, did not say whether their long-term service would be curtailed. Analysts predict that the industry will lose between $4 billion and $7 billion in 2001. Congress gave President Bush $40 billion today to help rebuild from this week's terrorist attacks. Bush will be able to spend half that amount with virtually no congressional restrictions, although it was unclear how much money might be allocated for the airline industry. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that the administration has already been in touch with the airlines. The Teamsters union is working with airlines officials to set a meeting with Bush, possibly on Tuesday, to pursue an emergency appropriations package for the airlines that would help prevent a "ripple effect" after Continental's announcement, union president James Hoffa said. The nation's nine largest carriers have been losing between $100 million and $250 million per day since the nation's air space was shut down and then gradually reopened following Tuesday's events. "To put that figure into perspective, we had estimated a $400 million net loss for the industry's third quarter before Tuesday's horrific events," Jim Higgins, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said. Also today, Boston's Logan International Airport reopened with officers in black SWAT uniforms and police dogs on patrol. Travel at other airports continued to creep back into service. Travellers across the country faced long lines and delays, as airports implemented mandatory federal security measures, including a ban on kerb-check-in and limited access to ticketed passengers beyond security screening points. With the reopening of Logan, Reagan National Airport at Washington was the only major US airport still closed to travel. Federal authorities said that its proximity to the Pentagon and other federal buildings created enough security concern to keep it closed for now. Federal officials also reopened the skies to most private planes, but banned them from flying within about 30 miles of Washington, DC, and New York City.

21 September 2001 – Government investigators have obtained data from three of the four flight recorders recovered from the wreckage of two hijacked aircraft, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said. The tapes may help investigators piece together the final minutes of the aircraft which crashed into the Pentagon (Boeing 757-223 N644AA) and into a field near Pittsburgh (Boeing 757-222 N591UA). Unlike in the safety board's usual investigations, this time the investigators do not work for the NTSB but for the FBI. The safety agency's job is to investigate transportation accidents. In the investigation of last week's terror attacks, however, it is relegated to a supporting role. On the day of the attack, the NTSB was asked to provide its expertise to the criminal investigation. More than 50 NTSB staff members are working on the probe, helping to identify aircraft parts and find the flight recorders. The agency also provided counselling and other support for relatives of the victims. Carmody said that she did not know what information the FBI obtained from the data recorders of the aircraft which crashed into the Pentagon and near Pittsburgh, and the voice recorder from the Pennsylvania crash. The voice recorder from the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was too damaged to yield information, she said. The recorders from the two aircraft which crashed into the World Trade Center (Boeing 767-223 N334AA and Boeing 767-222 N612UA) have not been recovered.

22 September 2001 – Engineers say that the collapse of the World Trade Center did surprisingly little physical damage to the buildings around it. "The extent of the damage, considering the enormity of what happened down there, was fairly limited," said Aine Brazil, a partner at the engineering firm of Thornton-Tomassetti, which surveyed the damage. The seven buildings that made up the Trade Center complex were either destroyed or in danger of collapse, and several buildings next door to them sustained major structural damage. However, teams of engineers examining nearly 200 buildings within a few blocks of the 16-acre epicentre have been surprised by their resilience. While they look battered, most are structurally sound, the firm found. Most need just cosmetic repairs. Far worse damage had been anticipated to the prime real estate, where buildings were pounded with debris when the two 110-storey towers tumbled to the ground after terrorist strikes September 11. Landlords are sounding almost optimistic, though the clean-up of debris is expected to take months. "We hope to get the vast majority of our tenants back in about eight weeks," said Denis Couture, spokesman for Brookfield Properties, which owns three large buildings along the edge of the Trade Center with tenants including Merrill Lynch. Also spared any real damage were down-town landmarks such as Fraunces Tavern and the South Street Seaport. Battery Park City, where people are gradually being allowed back home, also avoided severe damage.

23 September 2001 – A press report, dated today, states: President Bush yesterday signed into law an emergency aid package for the US airline industry, saying that "the terrorists who attacked our country on September 11 will not shut down our vital businesses or thwart our way of life." The measure provides $5 billion in direct federal aid and $10 billion in loan guarantees for an industry that has announced tens of thousands of lay-offs since the terrorist hijackings. The measure also offers the industry federal help with rising insurance costs in the wake of the terrorist strikes, and limits airline liability in any federal lawsuits that could result from the attacks. Bush also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for about an hour in what was described as a "constructive" conversation. An administration official said yesterday that Bush also planned to sign an executive order freezing the US assets of specific suspected terrorists and terrorist organisations. The official said that the order could be signed as early as this weekend (September 22-23) but would not confirm that Osama bin Laden or his organisation, al-Qaeda, would be on that list. The Bush administration has labelled bin Laden the "prime suspect" behind last week's deadly terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. More than 6,500 people are believed dead in the September 11 attacks, which were carried out by hijackers, who commandeered four commercial airliners and flew two of them into the World Trade Center towers in New York and one of them into the Pentagon in Washington. Passengers on board a fourth aircraft apparently attempted to regain control from the hijackers, but the aircraft crashed in rural western Pennsylvania. Sources close to the investigation said that the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder revealed a "definite struggle" before the crash. All 45 people on board perished. Officials in New York said that the chances of finding anyone alive in the rubble of the World Trade Center were very small but that rescue workers remained hopeful. Teams have found a number of open spaces and air-pockets in the WTC's basement areas, and they hope that they will find survivors in similar areas. President Bush yesterday lifted sanctions imposed on Pakistan and India for their 1998 nuclear tests. The sanctions included a halt to US economic aid and a ban on selling or sharing so-called "dual use" technologies that have both civilian and nuclear-military uses. The move is seen as a reward to Pakistan for its co-operation with the USA in its show-down with Afghanistan. The Pentagon announced yesterday that it had called up an additional 5,172 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve troops, bringing the total number of reservists activated to 10,303. The latest call-up includes more than 3,000 Guard members and reservists, who will provide air refuelling and joint communications to deploying troops. New York Governor George Pataki announced yesterday that the New York State Department of Labor had secured $25 million in emergency funds to help people and businesses affected by the World Trade Center disaster. The money will be used to help not-for-profit groups, hire temporary workers to help with recovery work, and to provide job training and other services to people affected by the attacks. Pakistani sources said that US warplanes and troops would only be allowed to be based in Pakistan as a last resort. The officials said that Pakistan would not use its forces or equipment in any attacks against Afghanistan. Turkey said yesterday that US transport aircraft could use Turkish airspace and airbases in any response to the terror attacks. The United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Afghanistan, leaving only two countries, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, with diplomatic relations with the country's ruling Taliban regime. Taliban officials said yesterday that an unmanned aircraft was shot down in Afghanistan. Sources said that the drone was gathering intelligence for the CIA. Nearly $25 million of the $5.1 billion in emergency funds released by President Bush on Friday "will be used to provide rewards for information to help apprehend terrorists," according to a breakdown of allocations from the Office of Management and Budget. The $5.1 billion is the first wave of a $40 billion package approved this week by Congress. The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday lifted strict limits on the use of private aircraft, allowing sightseeing tours and flight schools to resume business. However, aircraft operating under "visual flight rules" still are prohibited from flying within 25 nautical miles of New York and Washington.

24 September 2001 – The USA today tried to surround Islamic militant Osama bin Laden with a far-flung political and military net, sending a team to Pakistan, positioning troops on land and sea, and promising a written indictment against the man who tops its wanted list for the attacks on New York and Washington. After a weekend of grieving and prayers for the nearly 7,000 dead or missing from the September 11 attacks, Americans tried to return shattered routines back to normal, as their leaders promised retribution. The shaken US economy, meanwhile, faced another test, as the stock market prepared to reopen after suffering the largest weekly loss since the Great Depression. Early today, most Asian stocks staged a tentative recovery. bin Laden, the Muslim dissident, believed to be hiding in Afghanistan, remained the top target of US efforts. Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday that Washington would release evidence linking him to the attacks, in a bid to build support for the coalition President Bush is trying to build for his global "war on terrorism." Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, which has sheltered bin Laden, has said that it will not turn him over, unless it is given proof of his involvement in the attacks. However, bin Laden's whereabouts were a matter of dispute. A spokesman for the Taliban said that the movement's spiritual leader had approved a request from the country's clerics that bin Laden leave, but that the message was not yet in the fugitive's hands. "We have still not been able to deliver the clerics' message to him, because we could not find him," Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen said. Asked if he believed that the Taliban had lost track of bin Laden, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "Of course not. They know where he is." As he spoke, a US military team, believed to number four members, had arrived in Islamabad to consult with Pakistan's government on President Pervez Musharraf's pledge to back Washington's efforts to remove bin Laden from neighbouring Afghanistan. Bush has demanded that the Taliban turn over all leaders of bin Laden's al’Qaeda organisation in that country and close all camps used by the group or face military consequences. Bin Laden has denied involvements in the attacks. In Washington, Bush's top lieutenants indicated that the war he has launched may be a silent, stealthy and possibly secret conflict, targeting financial and political channels as much as people and supplies. In New York, over 20,000 mourners yesterday attended a tribute at the Yankee Stadium to those who died in the ruins of New York's twin towers, at the Pentagon and in the four hijacked aircraft, one of which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers apparently fought with those who had hijacked it. Flags were flying at full-staff at all government buildings following the expiration on Saturday night (September 22) of the official period of mourning. The US government yesterday ordered crop-dusting aircraft temporarily grounded for a second time, as the FBI warned their operators to check for "suspicious activity." Published reports said that those who carried out the attacks may have been looking at crop-dusters as a potential vehicle for a chemical or biological weapons assault. The aircraft were grounded for one day on September 16. New York officials said that the number of those missing in the wreckage of the World Trade Center had risen to 6,453, up 120 from the prior toll amid continued checks of lists of those unaccounted for. The chances of finding survivors 12 days after the attacks were very small, although rescue work continued. US military preparations picked up steam. The Pentagon activated another 5,172 reserve troops on Saturday, a day after eight B-52 heavy bombers began departing for a build-up in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Aircraft carriers have also left port. US officials said that another deployment was expected to send additional warplanes to the area, bringing to more than 200 the number of aircraft that would join about 350 already in the region at land bases and on aircraft-carriers. Bush was expected to issue an executive order designating specific groups and individuals as "terrorists" – freezing their assets in the USA to starve them of financial support. Gulf Arab states yesterday pledged support for the US moves while condemning any attempt to link Islam with what they termed "these heinous terrorist acts." In Kabul, witnesses and officials said that the Taliban were building bunkers, installing anti-aircraft batteries and arming men in key border areas to defend against any US attack.

24 September 2001 – Hong Kong, today, proposed an insurance package to keep its three airlines flying, joining a growing list of governments world-wide, which have moved to support their carriers in the wake of attacks in the USA. The government will indemnify Hong Kong airlines for up to US$1.95 billion in the event of hijackings, war and other disasters, secretary for economic services Sandra Lee told an urgently convened meeting of legislators this afternoon. Lee said that the offer did not amount to a subsidy for airlines, but was a temporary measure to fill a much-needed gap in "unique circumstances". The package, which also ensures that the airport and related services are kept running, will take effect at midnight UTC and will last for six months. The government also will provide a maximum indemnity of US$1.25 billion for the Airport Authority and up to US$l billion for 17 related service providers operating at Hong Kong International Airport. "The maximum level of indemnity from the government should be the difference between the prevailing level of coverage being withdrawn and any new coverage made available," the government said in a statement. The legislature is expected to approve the plan later today. Airlines world-wide face the loss of much of their existing war risk insurance cover from midnight UTC, tonight, when global insurers will cap third-party war and terrorism insurance at US$50 million. But Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways has said that such a level of cover would not be sufficient for it to continue flying. It currently carries insurance cover of over US$1 billion. The government said that Hong Kong airlines are still talking with insurers to try and obtain enough coverage, but any new arrangement may not be in place by the deadline. Apart from Cathay, the package will also help Hong Kong's Dragon Airlines Ltd (Dragonair) and all-cargo carrier Air Hong Kong (AHK) to continue flying. Several governments, including the USA, the UK, Kuwait, South Korea and New Zealand, have reached deals over the past few days to keep their airlines flying. US President George Bush signed a bill on Saturday that provides US$15 billion for the struggling US airlines industry. European Union finance ministers agreed to provide insurance cover to airlines after insurance underwriters decided to cancel existing airline war risk cover from today.

25 September 2001 – US President George W. Bush has formally notified Congress of his decision to deploy US combat forces "to a number of foreign nations," and said that additional deployments are under consideration. "It is not now possible to predict the scope and duration of these deployments, and the actions necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the USA," Bush said in a letter sent last night to House and Senate leaders. "It is likely that the US campaign against terrorism will be a lengthy one," Bush wrote. Hours after the president's letter, Saudi Arabia announced that it was cutting all ties with Afghanistan's Taliban government. The official Saudi Arabian news agency reported the move, saying that the Taliban were defaming Islam by harbouring and supporting terrorists. The moves are the latest in a steady drumbeat of action that has built since the September 11 terrorist attacks against the USA. Yesterday, saying "the American people do not have the luxury of time," Attorney-General John Ashcroft called on Congress to quickly approve a legislative package he said would help authorities combat terrorism. The legislation would broaden law enforcement surveillance powers and ease restrictions on the ability of US authorities to detain or deport suspected alien terrorists. The package outlined by Ashcroft would ease restrictions on wire-taps and search warrant requests. For example, the legislation would allow one court to authorize wire-taps for a number of different jurisdictions. The measure would also allow federal investigators to seize suspected terrorists' voice mail messages with a search warrant. US pilots are also seeking authority from Congress to fight off terrorists during flights. The Air Line Pilots' Association announced yesterday that it wanted Congress to change the law to allow pilots to carry firearms in aircraft cockpits. Two men in Virginia are in custody, accused of aiding and abetting two of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks by helping them obtain fraudulent Virginia driver's licences, according to affidavits filed yesterday with the US District Court in northern Virginia. One of the men was charged with helping one of the hijackers obtain a fake driver's licence. Both men are believed to have helped two men identified as hijackers, Abdul Aziz al Omari and Ahmed Saleh al Ghamdi, obtain Virginia licences and residency cards, according to the criminal complaint. During his appearance before a congressional committee, Ashcroft disclosed that 352 individuals had been taken into custody nation-wide, and another 392 were still being sought for questioning about the terrorist attacks. President Bush, aiming to starve terrorist groups of all money supplies, yesterday announced that he had signed an order freezing US assets of suspected terrorists and demanded that financial institutions in other nations do the same. The order names suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and mentions his al-Qaeda network. Pentagon planners are drawing up target lists that include illicit-drug production facilities in Afghanistan in order to cut off one of the main pipelines of money for the ruling Taliban militia, sources said yesterday. US officials said that illicit drug trade brings the Taliban an estimated $50 million a year. Citing national security, the Federal Aviation Administration extended a ban on US crop-dusting through 00.05 today in each time zone. In addition, no aircraft capable of or equipped for agricultural operations is allowed to operate – except fire-fighting tankers with emergency authorisation, according to the FAA. Ashcroft verified that one of the hijackers had inquired about getting a loan for a crop-dusting business in Florida. The FBI grew alarmed about crop-dusters after a crop-dusting manual was discovered among the belongings of a man now being held as a material witness in the investigation. Meanwhile, markets on Wall Street rebounded yesterday after suffering one of their worst weeks ever. The Dow closed up more than 367 points and the Nasdaq gained more than 75 points. Deputy US Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz will travel to Brussels for a meeting of NATO defence ministers on Thursday (September 27), where he will lay out to NATO allies evidence that the USA has accumulated on bin Laden and al-Qaeda's links to the attacks, State Department officials and diplomatic sources said yesterday. A letter bearing bin Laden's purported signature was hand-delivered to the Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera yesterday. The missive expressed sorrow over the deaths of three people killed last week in anti-US demonstrations in Pakistan. "We hope that these brothers will be the first martyrs in the battle of Islam in this era against the new Jewish and Christian crusader campaign that is led by the Chief Crusader Bush under the banner of the cross," the fax said. In Afghanistan, the nation's ruling Taliban said yesterday that it was mobilising "300,000 well-experienced and equipped men" in the centre of the country. Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said in a statement that the crisis would continue until the USA pulls its troops from the Persian Gulf area, stops its involvement in the "Palestinian crisis," and "leaves Islam alone." Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Russia had worked out how it will aid the US campaign on terrorism – going so far as to exchange intelligence but stopping short of allowing US warplanes to use Russian airspace or air-bases. Putin said that Russia would expand its co-operation with the Afghan opposition, including providing military aid. Ukraine has agreed to a US request to allow Ukrainian airspace to be used in the event of a US military strike, Russia's Interfax news agency reported Monday. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani yesterday announced updated casualty figures from the New York attacks: 276 confirmed dead, of whom 206 have been identified. The mayor said that 6,453 people were missing and presumed dead. The city is making it possible for families of the missing to file death certificates before the bodies of their loved ones are recovered. Teams of lawyers will work free of charge, Giuliani said, to file the necessary papers in court. A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday that the Taliban had taken over its offices in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and were preventing staff from using communication facilities in other parts of the country. UNHCR spokesman Peter Kessler said the organisation was in talks with the Taliban to see whether the Afghan ruling regime will allow it to use one radio per office to help local staff inside Afghanistan. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said yesterday that his country was prepared to back the USA in its battle against terror. Nazarbayev said that his country had granted a request by the USA to use its airspace. He said that Kazakhstan would be prepared to provide the use of its military bases and airfields.

26 September 2001 – President Bush yesterday praised Congress for passing a $343 billion defence bill, saying that it was a "vital step to ensure our nation's security." The statement released by the White House said that the Defense Authorisation Bill gives US armed forces "the most significant pay rise in recent memory." US stocks posted modest gains yesterday, closing with the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 56 points and the Nasdaq index up more than two points. During a visit to FBI headquarters to thank agents for their work, President Bush pressed for laws to give federal agencies more power to obtain evidence. "Several individuals" who might have had links to the hijackers implicated in the attacks sought or held licences to transport hazardous materials, Attorney-General John Ashcroft said that Tuesday, as the investigation took on a new urgency abroad. Interpol issued an all-points bulletin for an Egyptian believed to be the right-hand man of Osama bin Laden, suspected of masterminding the terrorist attacks against the USA. The Interpol so-called "Red Notice", posted for Aiman al Zawahri, called on 179 countries to trace his whereabouts. Four people were detained in Paris yesterday in connection with a planned attack on the US Embassy and other US targets in France, police said. The Pentagon has identified 1,940 more of the 35,000 National Guard and Reserve members it is calling to active duty to support ongoing military operations in the USA and abroad. The latest units include communications, intelligence and security specialists. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Washington yesterday and offered his country's support, telling President Bush that the Japanese were "determined to stand by the USA." Koizumi said that the two leaders discussed providing supply transportation, providing financial, diplomatic and medical assistance, and assisting refugees. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said at a news conference that the city would begin processing death certificates today for those who have "come to terms with the idea that family members are dead and they're not going to be recovered." Giuliani said that the number of missing was now 6,398, that 279 bodies had been recovered and that 209 of those had been identified. Giuliani told reporters that one of the largest remaining pieces of the south tower of the World Trade Center to survive the terrorist attacks was taken down yesterday and preserved for use in a possible memorial. OPEC representatives were scheduled to meet today to discuss whether to cut production, as the world economy looks down the barrel of a possible recession. Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will be under pressure not to cut quotas amid concerns that any US military action against Afghanistan could further damage the sluggish global economy. The World Health Organisation warned Western governments to be on the alert for attacks using chemical and biological weapons. Police were randomly stopping and searching cars and trucks that enter Manhattan, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday. While authorities would not say what they were looking for, Attorney-General John Ashcroft has said that he is concerned that terrorists might use tanker trucks as weapons.

27 September 2001 – As the USA deployed military forces overseas for a possible strike against Afghanistan, the Bush administration was also working on what officials called a broad strategy for fundamental change in Afghanistan. With a dire humanitarian and security situation in the country, US officials said that the Taliban had not delivered on the promises of stability, and the Bush administration saw "fertile ground" for a "home-grown" regime change in Afghanistan. Although they were clear to say that they could not "impose" a new government on the Afghan people, the officials said that they were working with a variety of what they called "Afghan nationalists" – ethnic, religious and political Afghan groups in the country and within the Afghan diaspora – in the hope that they would band together and form a new coalition government. President Bush will today unveil his proposals for improving airline and airport security in a speech to airline workers at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. He is expected to propose placing armed federal marshals on virtually all US commercial air flights and significantly boosting the federal role in airport security screening. However, the White House firmly opposes letting pilots carry hand-guns in the cockpit, sources said yesterday. At least ten people – including four men believed to be Iraqis – have been arrested in three states in connection with alleged efforts to fraudulently obtain commercial licences for the transportation of hazardous materials, authorities said last night. The arrests in the Seattle, Detroit and Kansas City areas, however, have not been tied to any terrorist plot. The US Justice Department yesterday formally cleared San Antonio radiologist Dr Albader al-Hazmi, who was briefly held in connection with the nation-wide terror investigation. The stock market took another dip yesterday, as investors worried about how the USA would retaliate for the terrorist attacks. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 92 points and the Nasdaq was down by more than 37 points. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said yesterday that it would be "a few weeks" before it became clear what the full economic fall-out will be from the terrorist attacks. Saying that it is "a duty" to fight terrorism, Saudi Arabia yesterday agreed to join a US-led coalition against terrorism. The government announced its commitment after a European Union delegation, led by Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, met with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah. Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed at truce talks in Gaza yesterday to resume full security co-operation. The meeting, held at the prompting of the USA, was considered crucial by the USA in its efforts to draw Arab and Muslim states into its anti-terror alliance following attacks on New York and Washington. Police arrested three people in Leicester, in central England, under the nation's terrorism law. French authorities said that one was a French citizen of North African ancestry wanted by the authorities in connection with planned attacks on US interests in France. The Pentagon yesterday called to active duty 701 more members of the Naval and Air Force reserves as part of the overall mobilisation of 35,000 authorised by President Bush. Defence officials said that the reservists were predominantly law enforcement and security personnel but also included medical, supply and intelligence specialists. Stepped-up vehicle inspections at bridges and tunnels in the wake of the terrorist attacks added to traffic back-ups yesterday on the routes into Manhattan in New York, prompting a mandatory order for citizens to start car-pooling. Anti-US sentiments boiled over in Afghanistan's capital. Thousands of angry Afghans attacked the abandoned US Embassy in Kabul yesterday, setting it on fire. With the fear of attack growing daily in Afghanistan, as many as 1.5 million Afghans may try to flee the country – a situation international aid agencies said would create a "humanitarian catastrophe." In response, Pakistan has announced that, although it is refusing to reopen its border with Afghanistan, it will aid those that cross illegally. Delta Air Lines, the nation's third-largest airline, yesterday announced plans to cut about 13,000 employees, or just over 15 per cent of its staff. The airline will also cut its flight schedule by 15 per cent. Faced with slumping oil prices and a world-wide economy close to recession after the attacks, OPEC oil ministers yesterday agreed to leave production levels unchanged. The FBI has begun a massive nation-wide records check on all truck drivers licensed to carry hazardous materials. Attorney-General John Ashcroft said on Tuesday (September 25) that several individuals who may have links to the suspected hijackers had sought or held licences to transport hazardous materials. In New York, 6,347 people were missing from the attacks, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said yesterday. Workers had recovered 300 bodies, 232 of which had been identified, he said. Families of the missing began filing death certificates by bringing to the Family Assistance Center proof of their identity, their relation to the missing person and that person's employer.

22 September 2001 – Millions of dollars' worth of art, including works by masters such as Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Joan Miro and Roy Lichtenstein, were damaged or destroyed by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. With the exception of Miro, the art in the Trade Center was the work of Americans, Sally Webster, professor of art history at City University's graduate centre and Lehman College, said. The works, reportedly worth about $10 million, included a bright red 25-foot Calder sculpture, the 1971 Red Stabile, at 7 World Trade Center; a painted wood relief by Nevelson entitled Sky Gate, New York, which hung in 1 World Trade Center; a painting by Lichtenstein from his Enablature series that had been in the lobby of 7 World Trade Center; and Miro's World Trade Center tapestry from 1974 that was on display in 2 World Trade Center. It is not yet known how many of the works are salvageable, but Karen Yager, an independent conservator working for various down-town art groups, said that one of Nevelson's works looked good, as did a piece by Dubuffet. "Over time, we're worried about acidity and stuff like that eating into the stone-work of buildings with carved façades and decorative elements," she said.

27 September 2001 – New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said today that the official number of people missing at the World Trade Center had dropped to 5,960 after multiple lists of the victims were double-checked. The number of missing reported to police had been 6,347 for several days. Giuliani said that the revision was made after duplications were found on lists provided by some of the 63 countries that lost people in the Trade Center attack. The mayor also said that 4,620 names have been registered as missing at a city centre for victims' relatives. The correct number – the one many fear will be the true death toll – is likely to be somewhere between the two, Giuliani said. Authorities so far have confirmed 305 deaths since two hijacked jetliners brought down the twin towers on September 11. At ground zero, heavier equipment has been moved in to remove rubble from the 16-acre site. Crews have begun assembling a 420-foot crane that can handle up to 1,000 tons. Since the attack, 128,050 tons of debris – only about 10 per cent of what the Army Corps of Engineers estimates is there – have been removed and taken to a landfill on Staten Island for analysis. More aggressive removal methods and equipment have not been used because of the search for bodies and survivors. Workers are also combing the wreckage for evidence in the criminal investigation of the attack. Jim Abadie, the site manager for crane owner Bovis Lend Lease, said that the larger pieces of debris hauled out of the wreckage would be trucked to a nearby pier and transported by barge to Staten Island. Across the rest of the city, some commuters faced their first day of mandatory car-pooling. Non-commercial passenger vehicles with only the driver inside were turned back during the morning rush hour, causing some traffic delays. The restrictions were imposed as a way of clearing traffic jams in Manhattan caused by the attack and heightened security.

28 September 2001 – A report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dated New York, September 28, states: Disaster assistance for Delaware, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties has been made available to help home-owners, renters and businesses recover from the effects of the World Trade Center attack, the head of FEMA announced today. FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said that the assistance was approved based on a determination of widespread adverse affects of the catastrophe on residents in the ten added counties. This amendment to the major disaster declaration signed by President Bush on September 11 brings to 15 the total of New York counties (including the five boroughs of New York City) now eligible for individual assistance from the federal government. The wide range of state and federal disaster assistance programmes now available to New Yorkers affected by the WTC attack includes: Funding for temporary housing; US Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property; disaster unemployment assistance; crisis counselling; and grants to meet serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programmes. New York counties now included in the federal disaster declaration are: Bronx, Delaware, Dutchess, Kings (Brooklyn), Nassau, New York (Manhattan), Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.

3 October 2001LNG Matthew (88,971gt, built 1979), loaded with liquefied natural gas, banned from Boston Harbor as a potential target for terrorists, will become the first vessel to offload at El Paso Corp.'s newly reactivated LNG import terminal at Elba Island near Savannah, Georgia, officials said today. Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC rerouted LNG Matthew to the Southern LNG Inc. facility at Elba Island after the US Coast Guard refused to let the vessel unload as scheduled last week at the Distrigas marine terminal in Everett, MA. Company officials said that they have already agreed to "certain permanent changes" in security for the Everett terminal and the operation of LNG vessels in Boston's harbour that are not being imposed at the other three US LNG ports. Yet there was no indication from Coast Guard officials today as to when the ban against LNG imports through that terminal may be lifted. "I think that they're still discussing it," a spokeswoman at Coast Guard headquarters in Boston said. The LNG tanker was denied access to Boston Harbor, "because we need to be sure that we've done everything we can to provide a safe environment for this vessel's transit through the port and during her product transfer operation at the dock," said Coast Guard Capt. Brian Salerno, captain of the Boston port and commanding officer of the USGS Marine Safety Office there. In that statement issued September 26, Salerno said, "My job as captain of the Port of Boston is to take actions to prevent injury or damage to waterway users, vessels, waterfront facilities, and ports in my area of responsibility. Since September 11, the dynamics of that role have changed." He did not say why only the LNG tanker was banned, however. Industry sources confirmed that other tankers are being permitted to enter Boston Harbor and to unload cargoes of gasoline and fuel oil. Coast Guard officials said today that they had nothing to add to Salerno's original statement. "Boston does have some unique safety factors. It is a real risk," said Mary Menino, manager of the natural gas practice at Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, MA. LNG tankers entering that harbour can only come in at low tide, so that they can squeeze under a bridge spanning those waters, she said. Moreover, their passageway is through the inner city, "right past the financial district." Operation "Enduring Freedom"

8 October 2001 – The USA has vowed to carry out further air assaults on Afghanistan after launching an initial series of strikes last night. US military sources said that the bombings, which Washington carried out with the help of UK military forces, would carry on for several evenings to come. The Afghan Islamic Press agency reported that more than 20 people were killed in Kabul, which is thought to have been struck three times during the night. But this morning, the Taliban's official Voice of Shariat radio claimed that the attacks on the capital had caused no casualties or material damage in the city. A total of 15 bombers, 25 strike aircraft and 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles were deployed, as the USA hit back 26 days after the suicide attacks in New York and Washington. The Taliban regime's air defences and command centres were the main targets, as US President George W. Bush told the nation: "The battle is now joined on many fronts; we will not falter and we will not fail." In addition to the attacks on Kabul, the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar and the eastern city of Jalalabad have each been hit at least twice since the operation began late in the evening local time. The action followed warnings from US officials that time was running out for the Taliban to hand over the Saudi-born militant, Osama bin Laden, who is accused of organising the September 11 suicide attacks that killed more than 5,000 people. The opposition Northern Alliance said that "terrorist" camps at Jalalabad and the Taliban airbase at Kunduz were struck in the raids, as was the airport at Mazar-e-Sharif. The Taliban said that Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar were unhurt amid reports of several casualties in Kabul. Afghan Taliban radio stopped broadcasting when the attacks began, but is now back on air.

Timeline: 16.25, UTC. – First reports of attacks north of Kabul, then explosions in Kabul. 16.55, UTC – Targets in Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif come under attack. 18.34, UTC – Taliban ambassador to Pakistan says that Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar survived attacks. 20.20, UTC – Fighting reported between Taliban militia and residents of the southeast town of Zaranj near the Iranian border. 21.05, UTC – Second round of attacks launched five hours after first. 22.50, UTC – Third round of attacks on Kabul. Heavy fighting is also said to have broken out between Northern Alliance and Taliban forces north of Kabul. Iranian news agency IRNA reported that fighting had broken out in the border town of Zaranj between local people and Taliban supporters. US forces later air-dropped relief to Afghanistan, including 37,500 ration packs.

8 October 2001 – Air-strikes on Afghanistan by the USA and allies have started to show some impact on the daily life in Pakistan. There is likely to be more unrest when the death tolls are greater in number. Today the deaths were reported to be only 20. Life in Pakistan's biggest industrial and port city – Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and other cities near to the Afghanistan border, where there are huge clusters of Afghan people, seems tense following the joint air-strikes. Major markets and shopping-centres remained closed in apprehension of any violence. There is a big group of the Afghan refugees living on the outskirts of these cities and there were rising fears that, with the help of other pro-Taliban, they will bring out processions and anti-USA rallies in all cities. Meanwhile, the government has called on more army troops and deployed them at sensitive installations in Karachi city including airport, ports, oil and gas installations, TV stations, telephone exchanges, important industrial installations to avert any situation in Karachi and other cities. Besides, heavy contingents of rangers and police have blocked all roads leading to US and UK consulates and other properties. It has been reported that police in the western Pakistani city of Quetta fired tear-gas at more than 10,000 demonstrators, who set fire to buildings and damaged vehicles in protest against the US-led strikes in Afghanistan. The mob tried to set on fire the United Nations relief building. The North West Frontier province bordering Afghanistan has announced the closure of education institutions till further notice. President General Musharraf said that the action against Afghanistan would be "sharp and targeted" and, in the post-action period, there would be a broad-based political dispensation and rehabilitation work for the Afghan people would be undertaken "promptly and adequately", according to a Pakistan television report. He said that it is business as usual in Pakistan and the country will be open as usual and there is no cause for concern for foreigners. He denied that any air-base in Pakistan has been used in air-strikes against Afghanistan.

8 October 2001 – A press report, dated today, states: Explosions and anti-aircraft fire can be heard over Afghanistan at the start of a second night of attacks by the US and the UK coalition. Bombs are falling to the west, north and east of Kabul – the respective locations of a TV transmission tower, the airport and an abandoned fort. Specific targets are not known. Other strikes are under way at the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. A spokesman for the Northern Alliance says that Taliban positions around the city of Mazar-e-Sharif are under attack by aircraft and missiles. Taliban radio insists that the US target is not Osama bin Laden but the strikes are aimed at a "pure" Islamic government. As the latest air strikes were unleashed, Tony Blair warned that the USA and its allies are in for a "long haul" struggle. The Prime Minister confirmed to the House of Commons that new attacks against bin Laden's terrorist network are under way. "We are in this for the long haul. Even when al-Qaeda is dealt with, the job is not over. The network of international terrorism is not confined to it," he told MPs, recalled to Westminster for a third time since the September 11 atrocities. Shortly before the attacks began, the Taliban released UK journalist Yvonne Ridley. She has been handed over to the Pakistani authorities. In neighbouring Pakistan, fierce protests have broken out in border cities, where pro-Taliban sentiments run high.

9 October 2001 – US aircraft and missiles pounded Afghanistan for a second successive day today, killing four civilians in the capital Kabul and hitting the house of the Taliban's spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in the south. Officials in the southern city of Kandahar said that Mullah Omar, targeted for sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man Washington accuses of masterminding the devastating September 11 suicide hijacking attacks in the USA, was safe and sound. The Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, said that bin Laden was also alive and in Afghanistan, following the overnight raids and reports of the first daylight attacks since the military operation began on Sunday (October 7). However, just outside the Afghan capital Kabul, rescue workers dug through the rubble of a UN-funded office today to recover the remains of four men killed by a missile as they slept. The four worked with the UN clearing land-mines in Afghanistan. A Pakistani Muslim cleric said on Thursday that a cruise missile hit and partly wrecked the house of Mullah Omar. "Sheikh Omar wasn't at home," said pro-Taliban Maulvi Kafiat Ullah Sarangzai, who was in Kandahar when the western strikes began on Sunday evening. He said that one of Mullah Omar's neighbours died in the blast. With financial markets watching closely for signs of how long the raids will last, US officials lowered any expectations of a rapid military victory over the Taliban. But the UK said that it expected phase one of the Afghan raids to be over in days. "I anticipate that it is more likely a matter of days than weeks. This is the first phase of our attacks on the Taliban regime to bring Osama bin Laden to account," British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told BBC television. Hoon said he hoped that the first wave would persuade the Taliban to hand over bin Laden and others suspected of carrying out the devastating suicide attacks that killed up to 5,600 people in New York and Washington. However, the USA, in a letter to the UN Security Council, raised the prospect of targets for military action outside Afghanistan. "We may find that our self-defence requires further actions with respect to other organisations and other states," US Ambassador John Negroponte said in the letter. The UK, which took part in Sunday night's raids, insisted that the current action was limited to targets in Afghanistan. "The agreement at the moment is that they are confined to Afghanistan. That is where the problem is and that is the military action in which we are involved," UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in Luxembourg. It was still too early to establish what damage the latest raids had inflicted. Initial estimates from across Afghanistan put Sunday night's death toll at 20. Deputy Health Minister Mohammad Abbas later put the toll at about eight. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the strikes had severely damaged Taliban air defences, but these had not been completely destroyed and there was no indication yet that military communications had been disrupted on the ground. So far, Washington has fired 55 cruise missiles at Taliban targets. The coalition followed up Sunday's raids with food drops for Afghan civilians, hungry from a pre-crisis drought. In Pakistan, protesters rampaged through cities on Monday to vent their anger at the US-led raids. An Islamic cleric, who headed a last-ditch Pakistani peace-making mission to the Taliban, said that all Muslims had a duty to rise in jihad, or holy war, over the attacks. Police said that they shot dead three anti-USA protesters today, when they tried to storm a bank in the town of Kuchlak near the Afghan border. In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, security forces cracked down on hundreds of Islamic radicals picketing the heavily guarded US Embassy and handing out pamphlets calling for a holy war against the USA. Police moved in to disperse the protesters today, when they began shaking barbed-wire in front of the embassy. Key Asian bourses skipped ahead today with relief at Wall Street's relative resilience in the face of the raids. European financial markets showed an uneasy calm. In the USA itself, officials stepped up precautions to prevent reprisals by Islamic militants in a country coming to terms with an unaccustomed sense of vulnerability born of the September sky-jackings which launched the crisis. Thousands of additional armed police and National Guard troops patrolled airports and railway stations and the US Coast Guard moved to its highest state of alert since World War Two. Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge was sworn in as the new cabinet officer in charge of homeland defence. Nuclear power plants, airports and US, UK and Israeli diplomatic missions were among sites around the world where security was tightened amid concerns over reprisals. The UK stepped up the guard at Buckingham Palace and at the Houses of Parliament.

9 October 2001 – A press report, dated today, states: New US air-strikes are under way in Afghanistan. Latest reports say that targets in the cities of Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat have been attacked. Anti-aircraft fire has been reported over Kabul. This is the third straight night of bombing, following daytime raids. "We believe that we now are able to carry out operations more or less around the clock," said US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He said that US-led forces had struck all but one of the Taliban-controlled airfields targeted on the first two nights. Military glossary guide to the military hardware being used US forces destroyed or damaged about 85 per cent of their first set of targets, according to General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff. "We feel that essentially we have air supremacy over Afghanistan," he said. Today, the first civilian deaths were confirmed. The United Nations said that four of its workers from a mine-clearing organisation died when their building was struck near Kabul. In new raids Taliban sources said that four bombs fell near Kandahar in the south this evening. Taliban anti-aircraft guns are reported to have opened fire. The ruling Taliban now say that 35 civilians have been killed or injured since the attacks began on Sunday (October 7) night. There is no independent confirmation of these figures. US forces have used Tomahawk cruise missiles, long-range bombers and carrier-based fighter bombers to target air defence systems, oil depots and military training camps near the cities of Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad.

10 October 2001, Jakarta – About 1,000 Indonesian Muslim students protested outside parliament today, with some trying to knock down the gates leading into the complex in the biggest anti-USA demonstration in Jakarta this week. Students danced around a burning effigy of US President George W. Bush and shouted slogans, as several hundred earlier tried to breach the parliament gates under the watchful eyes of scores of riot police stationed just inside the compound. Unhappy at Jakarta's tacit acceptance of US-led strikes against Afghanistan, the students marched to parliament to urge MPs to take a harsh stance over the military action. A small group were later allowed inside to meet legislators. Before lunch, many of the same students burned US flags and an effigy of Bush near the UN office in central Jakarta, not far from the US Embassy, which was surrounded by razor wire barricades and hundreds of police. Security forces fired warning shots and tear-gas at about 400 Muslim protesters outside the US Embassy yesterday, when they shook razor barricades blocking the front of that compound. Witnesses said that police also hit several protesters with batons outside the US Embassy during a minor rally today. No protests were reported in other Indonesian cities.

10 October 2001, Karachi – A local press report, dated today, states: Major shipping lines cancelled their services to Pakistan last week, due to confusion on war risk insurance applied on vessels passing through the war zone. The shipping lines included Hyundai, Wanhai, APL, OOCL and NYK. Most of these lines, which come to Karachi every weekend, are expected to arrive next Sunday (October 14), if they manage to resolve the insurance dispute with Lloyd's, shipping agents said. A spokesman for Karachi Port Trust said that feeder vessels continue to arrive at the port and so far there is no impact on vessels' movement in the current situation.

14 October 2001 – Anti-aircraft fire has erupted again around the Afghan capital Kabul, signalling a fourth night of US-led air strikes. Several loud explosions were heard near the airport on the outskirts of Kabul, as aircraft roared over the city. A military academy east of Kabul was reportedly hit. Taliban gunners opened fire from at least three positions near the city centre. There are unconfirmed reports of another heavy raid on the southern city of Kandahar. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported explosions in Shamshaad, a Taliban military base east of Jalalabad, near the Pakistan border. Earlier, the USA carried out more daylight air raids, after officials in Washington said that their forces had secured air supremacy. Casualties: Taliban officials said that a residential area near the capital Kabul was hit last night and several people had been killed.

11 October 2001 – Bombs and cruise missiles pounded Kabul and other Afghan cities in the fiercest bombardments since US-led attacks began four nights ago, prompting residents to flee their homes today, as the death toll rose. After a night in which jets screamed through the skies above Kabul and explosions rocked the city almost without pause, a Taliban minister said that Kabul airport and military bases to the east of the city had been hit along with government facilities in southern Kandahar, the Taliban's headquarters. A missile fell in east Kabul, near the Customs house, killing ten civilians in a house, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said. Anti-aircraft fire blazed for much of Wednesday (October 10) night and jets tore over the capital, as bombs and missiles struck at targets, including the airport and near a central residential area. A huge fire blazed for a while near a lubricant storage area of the airport to the north of the city. Muttaqi said that the strikes hit dilapidated vehicles around the airport and military bases in Pul-i-Charkhi, east of Kabul. In Kandahar, some residential areas and government facilities in the Daman district were hit, but no casualty figures were available yet, he said. Smoke was still drifting over the city hours later, as residents spoke of a sleepless night spent cowering from the thunderous explosions and response of anti-aircraft fire. In Kandahar, at least 30 bombs and missiles rained down and residents were fleeing the city, their belongings in their hands or on the backs of donkeys, CNN reported. A day earlier, the toll had reached 76 killed and 100 injured, AIP and officials said. CNN, quoting a senior US official, said that several Taliban leaders had been killed, including two male relatives of the movement's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. The Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, yesterday dismissed US reports that its aircraft now had full command of the skies over the rugged and land-locked country that has proved a graveyard for many foreign land armies. The opposition Northern Alliance appeared to be trying to take advantage of the attacks. It said on Tuesday that it had seized control of the only remaining north-south highway after persuading 40 Taliban commanders and their 1,200 fighters to switch sides. The Taliban dismissed the claims. In Washington, US defence officials said that the raids had so far achieved all objectives and military sources said that the operation was now likely to move into its next phase, possibly including ground forces.

11 October 2001 – The intensity of agitation in Pakistan against the US air strikes in Afghanistan is slowing down. The main agitation is from the religious groups, while the businessmen and commons strongly condemn terrorism and are supporting General Musharraf to help the US efforts to control terrorism. The religious groups have made a call to observe a strike tomorrow throughout the country. Shopkeepers are reluctant to close their business and, as the transportation system in Karachi is controlled by Pushto-speaking and Afghans, it is likely that there would be a shortage of conveyances in Karachi but all the government offices, ports, airports and banks will be working normally. The recent protest demonstrations in some cities of Pakistan including Quetta and Karachi have led to killing people and burning property including cinemas, banks and motor vehicles.

12 October 2001 – Life is partially paralysed in a number of cities of Sindh Province, Pakistan, at the call of the Pak-Afghan Defence Council, which has given a province-wide strike call for today, against US-led air-strikes. The public transporters have kept their vehicles off the roads and academic institutions were closed. The working of private and government offices was also affected due to lower attendance. All the big markets and shopping plazas were deserted. Loading and unloading of cargoes at ports were partially disturbed. All local and foreign banks are opened except in some sensitive locations. According to police sources, the demonstrators protesting over US attacks on Afghanistan today burned tyres, blocked roads, pelted stones at moving vehicles and torched a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, a bus and several other vehicles. To control the situation police fired tear-gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators, engaged in the clashes in different parts of Karachi. There were no immediate reports of casualties. In southern Karachi, the protestors, attempting to impose a complete shut-down of the city, ordered passengers off a bus and then set it ablaze. At least three other vehicles were torched in different parts of the city. There were also reports of factories being attacked in the industrial part of western Karachi. Meanwhile, all the civil institutions and public sector companies in communications, railways, oil and gas, health, food, energy and security have been put on alert as a precaution to meet any eventuality. Reports from Peshawar say that police and the military threw a heavy cordon around the city of Peshawar today, a day after the government said that it would crack down hard on violent protests against US-led attacks on Afghanistan. The government official said that security of all oil and gas installations, including fields and refineries, has already been handed over to the armed forces, to avoid any sabotage activity by the hostile forces taking advantage of the prevailing situation.

13 October 2001 – A Nigerian police chief has ordered officers to shoot on sight after at least 16 people were killed by rioters in violent anti-US protests. The Nigerian Army also moved tanks into the Sabon Gari district of the northern town of Kano after protesters torched vehicles, shops and offices. Five churches and 16 mosques were also set on fire by rioters, witnesses said. The protests, over military action in Afghanistan, are in their second day.

14 October 2001 – One demonstrator has been killed and at least ten others injured in protests in the southern Pakistani town of Jacobabad. Several thousand members of the radical Sunni party Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) converged on the town to march on a nearby air-base, which they say is being used by the USA. Police have set up road-blocks around Jacobabad to seal off the town and prevent access to the base, and are reported to have arrested several hundred JUI militants, many of them the night before the demonstration. "We have strict orders from the government to deal sternly with the protesters," Jacobabad police superintendent Akhtar Ali Shah said. The protesters gathered in the centre of the town, before moving off towards the nearby Shabaz air-base. The police called on them to disperse, then fired into the air and used tear-gas on the crowd. The airport is ringed with barbed-wire, and roads leading to it have been blocked. Pakistani officials have confirmed to the AP news agency that at least two air-bases in the country are being used by the USA, one of them at Jacobabad. But they say that the US personnel are not troops. They say that they have given permission for the base to be used for emergency search-and-rescue operations in Afghanistan, but not for attacks on that country. Islamic parties have led protests all week over Pakistan's co-operation with the USA in its attacks on Afghanistan and the Taliban. On Friday (October 12) security forces exchanged fire with Muslim radicals in Karachi, and imposed a security clamp-down across the whole of the country. The US Secretary of State Colin Powell is due to leave Washington on Sunday for Pakistan and India. As well as bolstering support for the US strategy in Afghanistan, Mr Powell is said to wish to try to reduce tensions between the two countries over Kashmir.

15 October 2001 – Soldiers were restoring calm to northern Nigeria's largest city, Kano, today after a day of Muslim-Christian rioting, centring on US-led air strikes on Afghanistan, killed at least a dozen people and left shops burned and places of worship destroyed. Fire-fighters battled to put out fires in several buildings. Witnesses said that three churches and a mosque were partially burned in the rioting yesterday. Hundreds of soldiers were deployed to restore order and prevent an escalation of the fighting. Police said that 13 people were confirmed killed in yesterday's violence, including five rioters shot by police. There were unconfirmed reports of many more dead. Police made more than 100 arrests. The offices of many Nigerian newspapers were among the businesses looted and destroyed. The roof of the office of Lagos-based This Day newspaper caved in. It was unclear whether the papers were targeted by rioters. Yesterday's rioting was apparently ignited when police fired tear-gas to break up a protest Friday (October 12) by hundreds of Muslim youths decrying US-led air strikes on Afghanistan.

15 October 2001 – US aircraft attacked targets in Afghanistan today with the ruling Taliban reporting fresh deaths and rejecting suggestions of splits within their ranks. The US military operation to flush out Osama bin Laden, which entered its second week overnight, pounded targets with bombs and missiles after daybreak. The eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital Kabul came under attack this morning in the fiercest daylight raids since the USA launched its strikes eight days ago. Overnight attacks also hit military bases in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, and power was knocked out. A Taliban official said that US aircraft had killed 12 more people in an overnight strike on the city of Qala-i-nau, capital of northern Badghis province. The Taliban said at the weekend that the US-led military campaign to flush out bin Laden had killed more than 300 people, many of them civilians and more than half in a single village. In Kabul, witnesses reported that a bomb hit a northern suburb this morning, and then several more fell at five-minute intervals on abandoned military bases in the north of the city. There was no immediate indication of casualties. One of Kabul's two international telephone exchanges, installed by the Chinese, had been destroyed, cutting one of Afghanistan's last links to the outside world. The Taliban said that they would not be bullied into handing over bin Laden. "It can be negotiated, provided that the USA gives us evidence and the Taliban are assured that the country is neutral and will not be influenced by the USA," Maulvi Abdul Kabir, number two to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, told a weekend news conference in the eastern city of Jalalabad. US President George W. Bush rejected the offer. "When I said no negotiations, I meant no negotiations," he told reporters in Washington. "We know that he is guilty. Turn him over." The Taliban denied reports of rifts in their ranks and said that their foreign minister had not gone to Pakistan, as reported by the official WAM news agency of the United Arab Emirates. WAM reported that Maulawi Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil had arrived in Pakistan, possibly indicating a division within the hard-line movement. The Taliban urged members of the Northern Alliance opposition to join their war against the USA. Taliban intelligence chief Qari Ahmadullah told the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that Mullah Omar wanted members of the Northern Alliance to join the Islamic movement. "We will forget the past problems with those people who join us, because now it is a question of our religion and country," AIP quoted him as saying in an interview. Northern Alliance foreign minister Abdullah dismissed the proposal as propaganda. The Taliban took a group of international reporters from Pakistan to the village of Khorum near Jalalabad, where they said up to 200 people had been killed in bombing last week. The stench of death enveloped the village yesterday. Some freshly dug graves could be seen but it was impossible to verify how many people had died.

15 October 2001 – Nation-wide strike begins in Pakistan. Major cities in Pakistan are heeding a call by militants for a nation-wide strike. This is in protest against the government's support for US attacks on Afghanistan and the pending visit of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Merchants have kept shops closed in several big cities, including areas of Peshawar, Quetta and Lahore. Many businesses are also closed in Jacobabad, the site of large demonstrations near Shahbaz Air Base, which US personnel are reportedly using, but in Karachi most businesses are open. In the past week in some strongholds of Taliban support, businesses which did not comply with militant demands have been threatened or attacked. Angered by President General Pervez Musharraf's support of the US-led coalition against terrorism, militant Islamic political parties have been protesting in the nine days since US and UK aircraft began attacking Afghanistan.

16 October 2001 – US aircraft have pounded targets around the Afghan capital Kabul in further intensive strikes after the heaviest day of raids yet. Taliban gunners opened anti-aircraft fire, as the jets dropped at least three bombs on the outskirts of the city. A US defence official said that an Air Force Special Forces AC-130 gunship – one of the most lethal US aircraft – went into action for the first time against the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, according to Reuters news agency. The Taliban said Kandahar came under heavy attack, with some 130 US-led sorties yesterday. And one Taliban official said that US helicopters were involved. As the aerial bombardment continued for a second week, former Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah appealed to the United Nations to send a peace-keeping force to Afghanistan in the event of the Taliban's collapse. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Zahir Shah warned that a power vacuum in Afghanistan could lead to renewed fighting. Today's attacks followed intense bombing yesterday, during which jets struck Taliban troop concentrations and suspected weapons storage sites in the north of Kabul and around the airport. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that ammunition dumps had been targeted in the village of Karam, where the Taliban said that 200 people died in a US raid on Thursday (October 11). Bombs, then pamphlets. Mr Rumsfeld also said that on Sunday (October 14) warplanes started to drop leaflets, which the USA hopes will convince the Afghan people that they are not the targets of the ongoing strikes. Independent sources in Kabul said that targets yesterday included a house where some foreign Islamic militants used to live, and a military base in the north of the city housing one of the Taliban's battalions. Qatar-based al-Jazeera television said that two residential areas in the capital had also been hit. Elsewhere, a jet bombed the outskirts of the eastern city of Jalalabad, reportedly hitting a former training camp of Osama bin Laden. An airport in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif was also targeted. The Taliban say that over 200 people have been killed and that 12 people were killed and 32 injured when the northern city of Qala-i-nau was attacked. The statement could not be independently verified.

16 October 2001 – More than 100 US warplanes pounded Afghan troop and weapons sites today, as anthrax scares prompted the partial closure of a US Senate building and the evacuation of another at the Kennedy Space Centre in a check for the potential germ warfare agent. With US jets hammering Afghanistan for the tenth day to force the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in last month's mass killings in the USA, two bombs missed their target and slammed into a Red Cross warehouse in the centre of Kabul. Secretary of State Colin Powell ended a visit to Pakistan, agreeing with military ruler Pervez Musharraf that the opposition Northern Alliance and the 87-year-old ex-King Zahir Shah would play roles in a future Afghan government. Musharraf also held out a role for moderates in the Taliban. In Washington, parts of a Senate office building were shut to test ventilation systems after tests found traces of anthrax bacteria in a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. In Cape Canaveral, the US space agency evacuated an assembly and refurbishment building after the discovery of envelopes containing a suspicious white powdery substance. They were the latest of several letters containing powder that have stoked widespread fears of bio-terrorism across the nation and the world. President Bush has said that there could be a link between them and bin Laden, accused of masterminding September 11 attacks by hijacked aircraft that killed nearly 5,400 people in New York and Washington. On the military front, the USA sent one of the most devastating weapons in its arsenal into action for the first time in its war against terrorism, attacking the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar with an Air Force Special Forces AC-130. The four-engine turboprop aircraft strikes at ground targets with pin-point fire from 105-mm cannon and rapid-fire machine-guns. The bombing of the Red Cross warehouse in Kabul prompted a furious reaction from the International Committee of the Red Cross officials, who said that the building was clearly marked as a civilian facility. The Pentagon said that it was looking into what happened but had no immediate comment. Rescue workers tried to put out the warehouse blaze, but at least 35 per cent of the food and other equipment stored at the facility was destroyed. Marine Corps Lt.-Gen. Gregory Newbold told a Pentagon briefing that US aircraft went after Taliban targets around Kabul and the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which he said might soon fall to the opposition Northern Alliance. Newbold said that the town was a critical crossroads for re-supply of Taliban forces and losing it would be a major psychological blow. At least nine people were killed and 22 wounded in heavy attacks on Kandahar, the private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said. Four civilians were killed and eight wounded in strikes on Lal Mohammad village, some 19 miles to the north-west of Kandahar, Taliban Information Ministry official Abdul Hanan Himat said. As part of a US propaganda push, military aircraft dropped nearly a half-million leaflets over Afghanistan with a message in the local languages of Pashtu and Dari that the USA is not the enemy. Powell, who headed for India after his meetings with Musharraf, also said that military action would not stop until all objectives had been met, but he hoped it would be short. On the US home front, a more sophisticated test today confirmed that anthrax was present in the letter sent to Daschle, but so far none of the staffers in his office has tested positive for exposure, Capitol police said. At Cape Canaveral, NASA was awaiting tests to determine the nature of the powdery substance found there. Tours of congressional sites were cancelled and mail-rooms of members of Congress joined many businesses across the country in taking extra precautions in handling letters and packages. A seven-month-old infant, son of a producer at television network ABC in New York, was also confirmed as being infected through his skin. The child apparently picked up the disease when his mother brought him to work on September 28 to show him off to colleagues. The child is expected to recover. Last week, anthrax-contaminated letters sent through the mail infected an employee of NBC News. The concern over anthrax spread to Canada's Parliament and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's office in Berlin yesterday, as well as to France, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Israel, where letters and suspicious powder were discovered. The USA remained the only country where the bacteria were so far confirmed with the number of people exposed to the potentially deadly germs numbering at least 12. One, who inhaled the bacteria, has died. At the White House, President Bush said yesterday that "there may be a possible link" between the anthrax cases and bin Laden.

16 October 2001 – The Coast Guard lifted an order today that banned liquefied natural gas tankers from Boston Harbor, after concerns about them being targeted by terrorists led to a halt in deliveries. Each tanker carries 33 million gallons of highly flammable gas within a few hundred yards of Boston, and officials wanted to be sure that a terrorist action like the September 11 attacks would not endanger the million people who live in, work in and visit Boston every day. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jaimie Browne said that the decision was made after consulting with US Department of Energy experts and with local police and fire departments. "The Coast Guard was satisfied with the extensive analysis and planning conducted for this eventuality, and thus rescinded the order," said Browne. The order had been in place since September 26, when the Bahamas-registered LNG Matthew, the first to arrive since September 11, was barred from entering Boston Harbor and forced to turn south and unload its cargo at a facility off Georgia. Boston Fire Chief Paul Christian said that he still is not convinced that the 920-foot tankers should be allowed in. The tankers entered Boston Harbor 46 times last year, usually loaded with gas from Trinidad, on their way to the Distrigas of Massachusetts’terminal in Everett. A Distrigas-commissioned report said last week that a missile strike or bomb detonated next to one of the tankers could cause an explosion, but the ensuing fire would pose little threat to the surrounding area. The report, by the marine insurer Lloyd's Register of Shipping, also said that, if an attack caused a tanker to release liquefied natural gas, a non-toxic vapour cloud could spread as far as 3.7 miles. But the report said that that scenario is unlikely, because any spark would cause the gas to burn before it spread. Jerry Havens, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Arkansas, who has researched LNG for 25 years, said that it was "not inappropriate" for the Coast Guard to allow tankers into Boston Harbor.

17 October 2001 – Opposition commanders fighting Afghanistan's ruling Taliban watched in the early hours of today, as US warplanes struck enemy positions close to the front line above Kabul for the first time. The attacks were a boost for the Northern Alliance, which is itching to capitalise on the damage wrought by Western air-power on the hard-line Islamic movement. Until now the raids have concentrated on Taliban installations and supplies across the country including the capital of Kabul. But an assault on the front line, which had been hinted at on Monday (October 15) by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is a significant development for the opposition, militarily and psychologically. "At 03.30 last night US warplanes struck a Taliban reserve base for the first time at Barikaw. They attacked the Pullistakam bridge and a little later they hit the Tutakhan mountains, where Taliban anti-aircraft guns are positioned," said Rellozai, a young front-line commander. He said that attacks were concentrated against Taliban positions just behind the front-line between one and four kilometres south of Bagram, the opposition-held air-base no longer in use, because it is overlooked by the enemy. Rumsfeld on Monday had addressed a warning to the Taliban north of Kabul during a news conference: "In the period ahead, that's not going to be a very safe place to be." Were the Taliban to be pushed back far enough south from the mountains and hills overlooking the air strip, a new and quick supply line to the north would be opened up. Transporting troops, ammunition and equipment across the north-eastern part of the country controlled by the Northern Alliance involves days of gruelling travel along rough roads. US military officials confirmed that they hit front-line Taliban positions for the first time overnight around Kabul and the key northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif. "We are striking Afghan Taliban military positions around Kabul, including those that protect’the capital," Marine Corps Lieutenant-General Gregory Newbold told a news conference. He added that forces of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance had taken advantage of the pounding to move to within about six miles of Mazar-i-Sharif.

17 October 2001 – Growing germ warfare fears forced an unprecedented closing of much of the US Congress and shocked markets today, as more US bombs fell on Afghanistan in a march on terrorism that President Bush warned could go on for more than two years. In Washington, the US House of Representatives, the office buildings that support it and similar buildings for the US Senate, were closed for biological inspections after the number of anthrax exposure cases, growing out of a letter sent to one Senate office, rose to 31. The letter was similar to one sent to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw in New York. A third letter was sent to a tabloid newspaper in Florida, where anthrax spores killed a photo editor. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that preliminary genetic tests showed that the strains of anthrax in New York and Florida were the same. The Senate said that it would continue working in its half of the Capitol, while the buildings were swept for possible contamination. The anthrax scare has not been linked to those responsible for the September 11 suicide airline hijacking attacks on New York and Washington that left nearly 5,400 dead, but Bush has said that there could be a connection, and the threats have become part of the fearful and security-stripped climate in the aftermath. Bush, headed for a summit in Asia, said that his declared war on terrorism could go on for more than two years. He also said that the attacks on Afghanistan, now in their 11th day, were "paving the way for friendly troops on the ground to slowly, but surely tighten the net" and topple the country's ruling Taliban government. Washington's demands that the Taliban surrender Osama bin Laden, whom it blames for the airline attacks, have not produced the Saudi-born Islamic militant. As Bush spoke, bombs continued to fall on Afghanistan and US military leaders said that their warplanes were no longer being challenged by return fire. CNN reported that the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan was under heavy attack, with regular loud explosions being heard. US bombs hit the capital, Kabul, attacking Taliban bases and hitting a fuel dump that exploded in flames. In Kandahar, heavy bombing completely destroyed two houses and killed at least seven people, the Afghan Islamic Press reported. The raids appeared to be intensifying ahead of a crucial weekend (October 20-21) summit of Pacific Rim nations in Shanghai, expected to back the US-led war on terrorism. The bombings have already stirred unrest in the Islamic world and prompted criticism from leaders of moderate Muslim countries, such as Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Both of them will join Bush at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Shanghai. Relentless attacks on Kandahar have cut power in the city and sources close to the Taliban said that leaders were in hiding or moving from place to place to evade the strikes. The strikes are aimed at flushing out bin Laden and punishing the Taliban for offering refuge to him and his al-Qaeda network. He is said to be hiding in Afghanistan's mountains. Australia said today that it would add 1,550 military personnel, including elite Special Air Service troops, to the US and UK military operations against the Taliban. The spreading anthrax scare has unnerved Americans and triggered fears of biological warfare, hoaxes and false alarms around the globe. Worried about potential shortages of anti-anthrax medicine, the US government is talking to German drug maker Bayer AG about relaxing its patent on the antibiotic Cipro, which is effective against the disease, said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. In Canada, Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said that governments around the globe were considering vaccinating entire populations against smallpox and other potential bio-terrorism threats.

18 October 2001 – The USA waged its war against terror on two fronts today, bombing targets in Afghanistan and hunting at home for the people who have spread anthrax and anxiety through the US mail. US warplanes seeking to crush Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network carried out their 12th day of raids, unleashing what one Kabul resident called a "doomsday" of death and destruction. The Taliban, harbouring al-Qaeda, which is accused of being behind the suicide-hijack attacks against the USA on September 11, said that the raids had killed up to 900 people so far and left thousands injured. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that nowhere near that number of civilians had been killed in the campaign to destroy the network blamed for nearly 5,400 deaths, when hijacked aircraft were intentionally flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Pentagon said that the air-strikes were apparently driving some of bin Laden's guerrillas from cover and into US sights. Rumsfeld said that "snippets of intelligence" suggested that recent intense strikes by 100 warplanes were making the Saudi-born fugitive's network vulnerable and causing military defections from the Taliban. At the same time, US sources said that members of al-Qaeda had been killed in the raids but there was no evidence that bin Laden himself or his top lieutenants were among them. On the US home front, the government offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for mailing anthrax bacteria, FBI Director Robert Mueller said. Anxiety over anthrax –’there have been three dozen cases of infection or exposure in recent weeks – briefly spread to nuclear safety, when the Three Mile Island nuclear plant was put on top alert. Officials later dismissed the threat. Two cases of anthrax infection were confirmed today, taking the total number to six. A CBS employee, who works with TV News anchor Dan Rather in New York, tested positive for skin anthrax, making CBS the third major network to be exposed to the disease after NBC and ARC. In New Jersey, where two of the anthrax-containing letters were postmarked, a postal worker also tested positive. Although no hard evidence has been found linking anthrax-laced letters to bin Laden, President Bush has said that there could be a link. The spread of anthrax contamination by letter forced an unprecedented closing of part of US Congress for an environmental safety check yesterday and worried financial markets around the world. The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives and all Capitol Hill office buildings closed until Tuesday (October 23) for anthrax testing, but the Democratic-controlled Senate held a short session under heavy security after 31 congressional staffers tested positive for anthrax exposure. Despite the disruptions of the anthrax scare, congressional leaders said that they had reached a compromise agreement on a broad anti-terrorism bill to expand the power of law enforcement to wire-tap suspected terrorists, share intelligence information about them and track their Internet movements. The US Postal Service is taking the extraordinary step of sending notices to every home and office, instructing Americans on how to identify and handle suspicious letters and packages. The anthrax scare has spread far beyond US borders. Security guards sealed off the mail-room of the lower house of the French parliament, and part of Australia's national parliament was evacuated after powder-laced letters arrived. In Nairobi, a letter sent to an unidentified Kenyan businessman tested positive for anthrax. The letter was posted from Atlanta on September 8 and passed via Miami. In Japan, letters containing suspicious powder were delivered to the US consulate in Osaka and three major Japanese newspapers. On the diplomatic front, Bush arrived in China for an Asian summit, hoping to shore up support from countries as diverse as China, the world's largest remaining communist country, and Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation. In Afghanistan, the 12th day of air raids went ahead despite appeals from aid agencies for a break to get badly needed food into the country. Senior Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen said that between 600 and 900 people had so far been killed or were missing in the US-led strikes. This morning's raids hit targets around Kandahar and Jalalabad in the east – the hub of Afghanistan's notorious guerrilla training camps, witnesses said. In New York, four followers of bin Laden were sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, the first US convictions linked to the Saudi-born militant.

19 October 2001 – A handful of US special forces are operating in southern Afghanistan, a government official said today, opening a significant new phase in the USA's military response to terrorist attacks. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had said yesterday that air-strikes alone will not be enough to rid Afghanistan of the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Ground forces will be needed to root out Osama bin Laden and other terrorists and the Taliban that shelter them, the Secretary said, though he made no explicit reference to US ground forces. A senior government official said today that a small number of US forces were supporting efforts by the intelligence community to undermine the Taliban regime. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that military action in Afghanistan could increase significantly in coming days, though there will never be a conventional force the size of that used in the Persian Gulf War.

20 October 2001 – A large bomb exploded at Islamabad international airport today, police said. The explosion was near the airport's VIP lounge. Police chief for the city of Rawalpindi told press that the bomb exploded in luggage left unattended at the airport's VIP lounge. Police were investigating who left the luggage. The police chief said that it appeared to be an act of terrorism.

20 October 2001 – The US Defense Department has said that ground forces targeted sites used by leaders of the Taliban and the al-Qaeda terror network in southern Afghanistan yesterday. US Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers told a Pentagon briefing that troops attacked and destroyed two targets, but did not meet significant resistance from Taliban forces. He identified targets as an airfield at an undisclosed location and a command and control facility near the southern city of Kandahar, where the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar lived. But Air Force General Myers said that the troops did not find any senior Taliban leadership at either location. He said that two servicemen were lightly injured in the parachute jump but were "doing fine". And he denied a Taliban claim that they had shot down a US helicopter, saying that the crash in Pakistani air-space -’which killed two servicemen – was being treated as a mishap. The joint chiefs chairman played video clips of the operation, showing what he described as preparations on the ground, the take-off of aircraft, parachute drops and the capture and destruction of a small weapons cache. In other developments: The Taliban had spoken about military action on the ground earlier in the day, saying that they had forced US troops to withdraw, while suffering no casualties themselves. In northern Afghanistan, one of the leaders of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, General Rashid Dostum, said that a team of US military personnel was also working with him directly on the ground. Meanwhile, the Russian military has given the clearest signal yet that it regards the Northern Alliance as being inside Moscow's sphere of influence. The Russian defence ministry's head of operations in Tajikistan, General Vladimir Popov, said that Russia had given enough help to the Alliance to, as he put it, complete its work and it needed no other assistance.

21 October 2001 – US aircraft have bombed Taliban front-line positions north of the Afghan capital Kabul, in the first verified strike of its kind. A local opposition commander said that the aircraft had targeted Taliban positions around the Bagram airfield, and there were reports of attacks near Darra-e-Sof – an opposition-held enclave outside the strategic northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. The strikes went ahead despite concern voiced by some members of the anti-terror coalition about the possible entry into Kabul of the opposition Northern Alliance. However, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Fox TV that it would be in the best interests of the USA and its allies to "resolve" the military conflict in Afghanistan before winter. Meanwhile, there were reports that a number of people had been killed in Afghanistan in overnight bombing raids by US aircraft. Two Western news agencies with reporters on the ground said that there had been civilian casualties as a result of the bombing of residential areas. The bombing came on the 15th night of US air strikes, a day after elite troops clashed with Taliban fighters on the ground for the first time since the campaign began. Earlier, the Washington Post revealed that President Bush has authorised the CIA to use lethal force to eliminate Osama bin Laden and key members of his al-Qaeda organisation. The CIA has been handed an extra $l billion to fund covert operations and received an unprecedented order to work more closely with élite commando units. US intelligence has detected "new and important" weaknesses in bin Laden's organisation, which it will attack in lethal, secret operations, the paper quoted US sources as saying. Meanwhile, Taliban officials say that up to 60 people have been killed in the western city of Herat in the last three days. Low-flying US jets reportedly dropped at least four bombs on Kabul overnight, drawing less anti-aircraft fire than usual. However, between seven and 13 people were reported killed and several others injured, when a bomb fell on a residential area of the Khair Kana district in the north-east of the city. Most of them were from the same family living in a two-storey house, which was half demolished by the bomb. The US aircraft were thought to be targeting a Taliban base several kilometres away. More than 100 US special forces attacked an airfield and a command and control facility near where the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar lived in Kandahar in the early hours of yesterday. US defence chiefs said the squad of Army Rangers did not meet significant resistance from Taliban fighters and withdrew safely after several hours. The USA suffered its first casualties of the conflict, when two servicemen died after a helicopter supporting the mission crashed in Pakistan.

22 October 2001 – Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said this morning that UK ground troops were ready to go into Afghanistan at "very short notice" but no decision had yet been taken to deploy them. "We've always said that UK ground troops are an option," Hoon said. "No specific decisions have yet been taken but clearly we are exploring all of the possibilities." Speaking after government officials gave the strongest hint yet over the weekend that ground troops might be deployed, Hoon declined to say how quickly UK troops might be sent in. "I'm not going to put a timescale on that. But certainly we always have troops ready to go at very short notice," he told BBC radio. The officials said at the weekend that talks were under way with the USA about the possible use of UK troops in support of US operations to hunt down Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden. The USA says that bin Laden is the prime suspect behind the September 11 suicide hijack attacks on US cities that claimed nearly 5,400 lives. Moon said that he expected the air campaign, now entering its third week, to produce results "sooner rather than later". UK military support for the USA has largely been logistical so far, bar the firing of a handful of missiles. Blair's spokesman told reporters on Sunday that he did not expect that to be the "totality" of the UK's military contribution. "We are in detailed discussion with the USA about other forms of military contribution," he said. That included possible use of UK troops.

22 October 2001 – Maoist guerrillas protesting against the US air strikes against Afghanistan attacked a Coca-Cola plant in southern India yesterday, blasting dynamite and causing major damage to the facility. Elsewhere around the world, protests against the US military campaign were more peaceful, with demonstrators filling streets and crowding mosques. Thousands turned out in Spain, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries. At least a dozen armed guerrillas of the outlawed People's War Group attacked the Coca-Cola plant near the town of Mangalagiri in India's southern Andhra Pradesh state, police said. The guerrillas cut telephone and electricity lines before overpowering security guards and blasting several parts of the plant with dynamite and land-mines. Police estimated the damage at $140,000. Coca-Cola said that there were no injuries, because the plant had been closed for maintenance, but it was beefing up security at other plants. In Spain, more than 15,000 protesters marched through the centre of Madrid chanting "Peace, Yes! War, No!" and carrying placards that read "No to the bombing of any people." Some 3,000 Muslims gathered in the central Indonesian city of Solo, holding banners reading "Osama bin Laden is a true holy warrior, not a terrorist" and "Islam, unite, destroy the American infidels," witnesses said. In Thailand, more than 20,000 gathered in mosques to pray for Afghanistan, with the main services taking place in Bangkok and the southern provinces of Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Pattani. After the prayers, organizers issued a resolution calling for Muslims to boycott goods from the USA, the UK and Germany. Muslims were urged also not to shop at Western-owned supermarkets. Relatively small demonstrations were held in Pakistan. The largest protest was held in Rawalpindi, where more than 2,000 supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami party shouted "Bush is a dog! Musharraf is a dog!" A slightly smaller crowd protested in the port city of Karachi. In the eastern border city of Lahore, only around 150 people turned up at a rally. In London, as many as 500 anti-war protesters sat silently opposite Downing Street. In Greece, about 600 protesters placed large cement blocks across the road leading to the Souda Bay navy base on the island of Crete. The base is being used to supply US forces near Afghanistan. In Berlin, the ATTAC anti-globalisation group that helped organize mass protests at the Genoa G-8 meeting in July declared yesterday that it would now oppose the US attacks in Afghanistan.

23 October 2001 – US jets struck oil storage facilities in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar today, and the Afghan opposition coalition reported US attacks around a key northern city, which the anti-Taliban rebels have been trying to take for years. Near the front line north of Kabul, a Taliban rocket slammed into the main bazaar in the opposition-held town of Charikar, killing two people including a 60-year-old vegetable vendor, witnesses said. Opposition spokesmen complained that US jets were still not striking close enough to the front to enable their forces to advance. In Uzbekistan, opposition spokesman Ibrahim Ghafoori said that US planes were attacking Taliban positions around Mazar-e-Sharif, a key northern city, which the rebels have been trying to recapture since they lost it in 1998. Ghafoori said that opposition fighters had advanced six to nine miles toward Mazar-e-Sharif in brisk fighting yesterday and today. "We expect US strikes to hit the front lines, but they're not," Ghafoori complained. Opposition officials also reported a third day of air strikes today along the front-line north of the capital Kabul, the opposition official said. In Kandahar, the South Asian Dispatch Agency reported US jets struck an oil depot, sending up a thick cloud of black smoke. US planes also targeted an asphalt plant, setting back Taliban efforts to repair the runway at Kandahar airport, which has been pounded repeatedly during the air campaign. Pakistan announced today that it would send Afghan refugees who entered the country illegally back to camps being set up by the United Nations and the Taliban inside Afghanistan. UN officials agreed to supply tents for the camp but appealed again for Pakistan and other countries to admit the refugees.

29 October 2001, Washington – The US bombing campaign against Afghanistan, now its fourth week, claimed more civilian casualties yesterday, as US officials promised that the USA's military machine would not bog down in a "quagmire" of endless carnage. US fears of biological warfare were stoked by the confirmation of a fresh anthrax case in New Jersey – the 13th since the September 11 hijack attacks on New York and Washington –’and news that anthrax spores had contaminated an off-site mail facility serving the US Justice Department. US bombing raids killed 12 civilians in Kabul yesterday, including a man and his seven children, who were eating breakfast. The deaths highlighted Washington's quandary, as it seeks to punish those responsible for the September 11 attacks that killed almost 5,000 people in the USA – almost all of them civilians. Washington also seeks to hold together a fragile international coalition in the face of rising Islamic anger over the bomb strikes. After three weeks of bombing, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, remains at large, as his protectors, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, continue to defy predictions of a quick collapse, while spitting defiance at their US adversaries. "We have not yet started the real battle against the USA because of its technological superiority," Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar told an Algerian newspaper. With Western military analysts predicting a campaign that could stretch into months, if not years, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promised that Afghanistan would not turn into a quagmire for the world's sole remaining superpower. Conceding that the Taliban still had some jet fighters, helicopters, surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, Rumsfeld said that he foresaw a "long, long effort" that could include the use of more US ground troops. There has been progress, and "we feel that the air campaign has been effective," Rumsfeld told reporters later. In New York, recovery work halted at "ground zero" yesterday, as thousands of grieving family members gathered for a memorial service at the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers. A host of city leaders joined the family members, most of whom were making their first visit to the site, where more than 500 bodies have been recovered since two hijacked airliners slammed into the twin towers. Across the country, people remained jittery over anthrax outbreaks after a series of letters containing potentially deadly spores turned up from New York to Miami, raising the prospect of biological warfare. A New Jersey postal worker was confirmed to have inhalation anthrax, the most dangerous form of the disease, state and federal health officials said. The middle-aged woman, a mail-handler at a main processing and distribution centre near Trenton in Hamilton Township, was said to be "clinically improving" five days after being identified as a suspected inhalation case. By the strict laboratory standards used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, her case brought to 13 the number confirmed nation-wide. Three of those anthrax sufferers have died. A White House spokesman said that the authorities were taking further precautions with the nation's mail on the chance that more anthrax-bearing letters were "stuck in the system," aimed at the White House or the Capitol. Thousands of Americans have so far been tested or treated for anthrax. Formerly rare in the USA, it has turned up in places ranging from television network headquarters to the congressional office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. No hard evidence has been found tying the outbreak to bin Laden, but a link has not been ruled out. Officials said yesterday that traces of anthrax bacteria had also been found at a remote mail facility serving the US Justice Department – following similar discoveries at facilities serving the White House, the US Supreme Court, the CIA and Walter Reed Army Hospital and three other congressional offices. Even as US warplanes kept up a fierce bombardment throughout the night and into daylight yesterday, analysts and aid workers said that there was no sign that the USA had weakened the Taliban's hold on Afghanistan. Pakistan – the shaky linchpin of the US-led anti-Taliban coalition – saw fresh violence after gunmen killed 15 Christians in a church in Bahawalpur. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose military government has come under sharp pressure from hard-line Islamic groups opposed to US strikes against Afghanistan, said that the attack had clearly involved "trained terrorists." Western hopes of building a durable post-Taliban coalition received a setback last week when veteran Mujahideen commander Abdul Haq – seen as a potentially pivotal figure in rallying Afghanistan's Pashtun majority – was captured and killed by the Taliban after slipping into the country. US officials vowed to continue the air attacks on Afghanistan, waving away suggestions that the bombardment might cease once the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins in mid-November. The prospect of bombs dropping on Afghan civilians during a holy month has put new strains on the US-led coalition, with leaders, including Musharraf, warning that further bombing could inflame the anti-US sentiment already flaring across the Islamic world. US bombing also caused civilian casualties in territory controlled by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, killing two people in the hamlet of Ghanikhel. Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister of the alliance, which controls about 10 per cent of Afghanistan and which Washington hopes to use as a ground force to help topple the Taliban, said that it was trying to improve co-ordination with US forces to ensure that air attacks hit Taliban positions.

29 October 2001, London – A federal judge today cleared the way for LNG Matthew, loaded with liquefied natural gas, to enter Boston Harbor, saying that the city did not show enough proof that the tanker could be a threat. Mayor Thomas Menino had asked the judge to ban LNG tankers from entering the harbour because of fears of a possible terrorist attack on the vessels and their highly flammable cargoes. The vessel was expected to deliver the first shipment since the September 11 terror attacks later today. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said that the Coast Guard planned to close the harbour to commuter vessels this evening. LNG tankers had been banned from the harbour since September 11, but the Coast Guard lifted the ban on October 16 after consulting with the US Department of Energy and local police and fire departments. The Coast Guard, which has jurisdiction over interstate commerce in federal waters such as the harbour, said that its security measures were sufficient to ensure the safety of the tankers. A 95-page security report prepared by Lloyd's Register of Shipping concluded that a terrorist attack on an LNG tanker would not result in a catastrophic explosion or fire and would not endanger the lives of people in cities near the harbour. However, city attorney Merita Hopkins said that Boston officials could not guarantee the safety of people and property near the harbour in the event of an explosion, because they did not know the Coast Guard's safety plan. On Friday (October 26), US District Judge Reginald Lindsay directed both sides to work together to come up with a safety plan. Three hours of negotiations failed yesterday. Menino said that he would not appeal against the ruling, but has asked President Bush's homeland security chief, Tom Ridge, to personally intervene. Acting Governor Jane Swift said that she was satisfied that the Coast Guard's preparations would protect the tankers.

30 October 2001, Washington – The USA warned that militants may be plotting new attacks on US targets at home and abroad against a background of international unease about civilian deaths in its attacks on Afghanistan. US air raids on the Afghan capital, Kabul, now in their fourth week, paused through the night but persisted apace on the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar today, witnesses and reports from Kandahar said. UN special envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi met Pakistani ruler General Pervez Musharraf today to discuss how to form a broad-based government to replace the Taliban, Islamic fundamentalists who have ruled Afghanistan since 1996. He earlier pointed to the Taliban's sheltering of Osama bin Laden as demonstrating the danger of failed states becoming havens, in which extreme groups can plot attacks. The Taliban have refused to hand over Saudi-born bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks on the USA that killed some 4,800 people. The USA started its attacks on Afghanistan on October 7 to flush him out. However, a growing number of civilian casualties in the air war has put US allies in the region on edge and appeared to be hurting public support elsewhere. In the USA, nerves were jangled by the spread of anthrax bacteria sent by an unknown force through the post and a warning from US Attorney-General John Ashcroft that new attacks may be imminent. He said that intelligence sources had warned of possible attacks against the USA and its interests over the next week. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sought to defuse criticism of the strikes by saying that some Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders may have been killed in the bombing and insisting that the air campaign would continue. The bombing would not be suspended for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, beginning in mid-November, he said. The US task of getting at bin Laden and the Taliban has been complicated by caves that permeate mountainous Afghanistan and have provided shelter against foreign invaders for hundreds of years. US bombs have been unable to blast the forces from their underground strongholds. Apparently frustrated by the slow pace of developments, the Pentagon acknowledged that it was considering the creation of a base inside opposition-held Afghan territory. The proposed forward base would support the opposition Northern Alliance. Rumsfeld said that US aircraft were already making ammunition air drops to the Alliance. As US military strategists pondered their next move, germ warfare spread in Washington when new anthrax "hot spots" were found in mailrooms at the Supreme Court, the State Department and possibly the Department of Health and Human Services. Government officials reported three new cases of anthrax in New Jersey and New York, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the USA to at least 16. Three people have died of the illness.

31 October 2001, Washington – The USA, fearing new terror of an unknown nature and fighting an anthrax outbreak of uncertain origin, yesterday held out the prospect of a Gulf War-style invasion to crush the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that "a very modest number" of US troops were already on the ground in Afghanistan, based in the region controlled by the Northern Alliance of local groups which are fighting the ruling Taliban. Nearly 100 US warplanes, conducting an air war now in its fourth week, pounded Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in a campaign sparked by the September 11 suicide-hijack attacks that killed about 4,800 people in New York, Washington and rural Pennsylvania. Two waves of US jets raided the southern Afghan city of Kandahar – the stronghold of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar –’early today, dropping at least one bomb. It was impossible to determine the location of the strike or any damage or casualties, because the city, like other Afghan towns, is under curfew. Another American – the 16th this month – was confirmed to have contracted potentially fatal anthrax in an outbreak that has killed three people so far but has investigators guessing as to who is behind it. Adding to the nation's worried uncertainty, Attorney-General John Ashcroft issued an alert on Monday night (October 29) that more terror attacks may be carried out in the next week against US targets at home or overseas. However, officials had no information on what might be targeted or where, although they said that the threat probably emanated from al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, who are blamed for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last month. Rumsfeld, in the Pentagon's first acknowledgement that US troops are based in rugged Afghanistan, said that the units were liaising with the Afghan opposition and spotting targets for warplanes. The front is near the north-west city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a prize that stands astride supply routes to Kabul and has an airfield. The opposition, a loose-knit coalition of warlords from ethnic minorities in northern Afghanistan, has repeatedly tried to take the city from the mainly Pashtun Taliban. In the latest case of anthrax, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a critically ill Manhattan hospital worker had been infected with the deadliest form – inhalation anthrax – adding to fears that the germ warfare agent was spreading more widely through the mail. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge expressed concern and said that health and law enforcement authorities were retracing her steps. "Clearly, she was not a postal employee. How she became contaminated, how she became infected is something that we need to try to find out," Ridge told a news briefing. The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily restricted flights by small planes over US nuclear power plants after the warning of possible new terror attacks. The air war against the Taliban has had little apparent success in weakening the movement so far, but Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said that he detected splits that could open the way for a political end to the conflict. "I do see that. Afghanistan has suffered, the people are suffering so much that I am reasonably sure that there are many people who even question the wisdom of their suffering for the sake of somebody who is there and not an Afghan, like Osama bin Laden and his people," Musharraf said.

31 October 2001, London – Two airlines are to increase aircraft security by strengthening cockpit doors with armour plating, it was announced today. Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson was unveiling a bullet-proof door, while British Airways said that all its 340 aircraft were to get full-length metal armour plates in an effort to prevent unauthorised access to flight-decks. Virgin has installed the new door on a New York-bound jet from London's Heathrow Airport carrying UK emergency service personnel. British Airways said that it was also strengthening its flight-deck door locks and hinges. The Virgin door has an aluminium and steel deadbolt on the inside and is the most visible of a series of bolstered security measures, both in flight and on the ground, introduced after the September 11 attacks on the USA, the airline said. The doors are bullet-, heat- and shock-proof and have digital locks, while closed circuit television monitors, pointing from the cockpit to the cabin, help to ensure that only authorised staff gain entry. Virgin said that the measures would be in place on its aircraft by the end of November. The company plans to have a second armour-plated door leading to the cockpit installed as standard on Virgin's 30-strong fleet within approximately 18 months. David Hyde, director of safety and security at BA, told the agency: "Safety and security are our top priority and the bedrock of our reputation. Our passengers can be certain that we will do everything in our power to continue to ensure that they have a safe and secure flight with us." Work on BA aircraft is expected to cost around $1 million. Installation of the metal plate, designed and produced in-house by BA engineers, has started and the first aircraft to be fitted with the new improvements will be flying on Friday (November 2).

31 October 2001, London – Any one of the tens of thousands of shipping containers shuttled into the USA each day could conceal a weapon of mass destruction, say maritime security experts. After hijackers used passenger aircraft as missiles to such deadly effect on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, security experts see shipping as a possible vehicle for a similar attack on the USA. "Our biggest fear is a fully loaded liquefied natural gas tanker exploding in New York or Boston Harbor," a security adviser, William Callahan, said. "But it doesn't have to be a tanker," he added. "It could be one 20ft container loaded with a nuclear device. The maritime trade is the unprotected underside of the USA." The US Administration is aware of this and experts have been rapidly drafted in to review the situation. "We can see it right now – terrorists will shift their sights to some other modality of transportation in order to inflict pain on the USA," Kim Petersen, of the Maritime Security Council, told a recent security hearing. Petersen estimated that only 2 per cent of containers entering the USA were inspected. Immediately after last month's attacks, the US tightened port security and started reviewing Coast Guard operations. London maritime security consultant Tim Spicer said: "Maritime security is not as good as it should be in the current climate, and people are scrambling to catch up." Spicer said that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network seemed to be aware of the vulnerability of shipping to attack, as illustrated by the attack on the USS Cole in October last year, when 17 were killed. Other militant groups, such as the Tamil Tigers, Abu Sayyaf and ETA, have also stepped up attacks on merchant shipping.

31 October 2001, London – The Federal Aviation Administration is temporarily restricting flights near the World Series games in New York and around nuclear sites in the wake of the latest terrorism warning. The prohibition goes into effect immediately and will remain in place until midnight, November 6. The restrictions over New York City prohibit any aircraft that is operating under visual flight rules from flying within 30 nautical miles of John F. Kennedy International Airport during World Series games, from 18.45 hrs until 02.00 hrs. Restrictions were even tighter during President Bush's appearance at yesterday's game. The nuclear sites ban, which affects 80 facilities such as power plants and Energy Department areas, restricts aircraft flying below 18,000 feet from coming within a radius of ten nautical miles of each facility. The restrictions underscore Attorney-General John Ashcroft's announcement Monday (October 29) of "credible reports" that another major terrorist attack may be possible within the week. "The FAA realizes that these restrictions inconvenience general aviation pilots and airports," said FAA Administrator Jane Garvey in a news release. "As the FAA and other federal agencies continuously review measures to ensure national security, we look for the understanding and co-operation of the general aviation community."

2 November 2001 – US B-52s carpet-bombed front lines of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban north of the capital Kabul today, ahead of a promised offensive by the Taliban's civil war foes. As the US administration said that it would send in more special forces and fight through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, California's governor spoke of a "credible" threat against major bridges there – including the famous Golden Gate Bridge. In Pakistan, a newspaper editor said that white powder in an envelope hand-delivered had tested positive for anthrax spores, the first case of its kind outside the USA. The Northern Alliance opposition, which controls about 10 per cent of Afghanistan, has urged Washington to step up its air strikes on Taliban lines before a promised opposition offensive. Washington's strategy has focused on promoting a broad-based alliance incorporating the Northern Alliance, the majority Pashtun, from which the Taliban draw their support, and other ethnic groups across the impoverished country. That effort suffered a major setback when the Taliban, targeted for harbouring Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden, caught and executed veteran Mujahideen fighter Abdul Haq, as he tried to rally support from moderate Pashtuns. The Pakistani-based Afghan Islamic Press said today that the Taliban had arrested 25 followers of tribal leader Hamid Karzai, a supporter of ex-King Zahir Shah, and planned to execute some. A Taliban minister in Kabul, quoted by the agency, said that the Taliban attacked Karzai's camp yesterday, forcing him to flee to the hills after a battle in which two of his men were killed. The Taliban say that 1,500 people have been killed since October 7, when the US-led alliance launched an air campaign. Washington says that bin Laden masterminded the September 11 hijack attacks which killed up to 4,800 people in the USA. Bin Laden, in a letter released and certified as authentic by Qatar's Al-Jazeera television station, urged Muslims to defend Islam against what he called a Christian crusade. Bin Laden and the Taliban have enlisted the sympathy of Muslims in different parts of the world with calls for a jihad. In the volatile Pakistani city of Karachi, armed police guarded the US consulate before Muslim prayers today. In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, some 3,000 members of the Muslim-oriented Justice Party held an anti-US protest after prayers in East Java's capital Surabaya. In the capital Jakarta, there appeared to be little anger. About 2,500 people in the capital of Muslim Bangladesh protested against the US-led attacks and police stopped several hundred radical Muslims from marching on the US Embassy. In Pakistan, anthrax, the bacteria that has killed four people in the USA, turned up at a newspaper office. "We received a press release envelope, which contained white powder, and it has tested positive for containing anthrax spores," Mehmood Sham, editor of Pakistan's largest Urdu-language newspaper Daily Jang, said. The private Agha Khan University Hospital identified anthrax spores and staff were being put on medication, he said. It was the first confirmed case of anthrax outside the USA, where 16 people have been infected since the bacteria began turning up in the mail in October. US officials have been unable to trace the source of the anthrax, but say that it might be linked to bin Laden. Washington yesterday ruled out a military pause for Ramadan, which starts in mid-November. "This is an enemy that has to be taken on and taken on aggressively and pressed to the end," US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said, after pleas from Muslim nations for a pause. "We can't afford to have a pause." The US government warned of the risk of fresh attacks and put police on a state of high alert this week. California Governor Gray Davis said yesterday that he had "credible" information indicating the state's major suspension bridges – including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge – could be bombed in a rush-hour attack between today and next Wednesday (November 7). Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday that the military would be reinforcing its special forces on the ground to help with bomb targeting. Rumsfeld said that because of enemy fire and bad weather helicopter-borne US troops had been forced to abort fresh attempts to enter Afghanistan.

2 November 2001, Washington – Four buildings housing the US government's health regulator near Washington tested positive for anthrax yesterday and officials said that there was no immediate sign that a New York woman who died from the disease had contracted it through the mail like other victims. As the anthrax outbreak continued to spread, the government yesterday pressed ahead with a counter-offensive on several fronts. On Capitol Hill, two key senators said that they hoped to complete by next week a legislative package to improve US bio- terrorism defences, from local public health departments to federal emergency response teams. A leading expert in bio-terrorism, who led the battle to eradicate smallpox, was named to head a new national office to prepare for public health emergencies. At the same time, a congressional panel said that the USA should create a national laboratory to produce vaccines in readiness for a massive biological attack. A total of 16 cases of anthrax have been confirmed in the USA since the current outbreak began nearly a month ago, and four of those people have died. In a sign that anthrax was spreading to more government buildings, preliminary tests detected the bacteria in four US Food and Drug Administration mailrooms in its buildings in Rockville, Maryland, north of the capital. "They are presumptive positive results. They are not final," FDA spokesman Lawrence Bachorik said, adding that people who worked in the mailrooms were being given antibiotics as a precautionary measure. The FDA has closed all of its Rockville-area mailrooms until they can be decontaminated. While the FDA was closing mailrooms, the US Supreme Court said that it would reopen in stages beginning today after tests found no further traces of anthrax in its building. The nation's highest court closed its doors last week after finding anthrax in its basement mailroom. The court convened at a different location this week for the first time since 1935. US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson named Dr Donald Henderson to head the new Office of Public Health Preparedness, which will co-ordinate the national response to public health emergencies. "His role will be to co-ordinate efforts regarding bio-terrorism, including strengthening the state and local health structure," Thompson said. "He will also help oversee our vaccine development and production efforts." A panel established by Congress in 1999, headed by Virginia Governor James Gilmore, yesterday called for a national laboratory to produce the vaccines. The anthrax threat prompted Senators Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and a physician, to push forward with legislation aimed at countering the assault. The senators said that their package would add more money to existing programmes, such as stockpiling vaccines and antibiotics and improving the capacity of local health workers to recognize and respond to a crisis. In New York, investigators were trying to retrace the final days of Kathy Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant, who died on Wednesday (October 31) of anthrax. Dr Julie Gerberding, acting deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's infectious disease centre, said that investigators had not traced the transmission route of the anthrax that killed Nguyen. "So far we have found no clues to suggest that the mail or the mail handling was the cause of her exposure," Gerberding said. Stephen Ostroff, the CDC epidemiologist monitoring New York and New Jersey anthrax cases, said that cultures taken from Nguyen were "indistinguishable" from the other strains of anthrax found elsewhere. While the spores might be the same, Nguyen's case seemed to break a pattern in the anthrax scare. Most of the 16 people confirmed with anthrax, including three others who died, were linked either to the postal service or to the media and were known to have been in contact with anthrax-laced letters. New York Health Commissioner Neal Cohen said that investigators had found no evidence of anthrax in tests done both at the woman's home and at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital where she worked. In addition, nasal swabs on 28 of the dead woman's co-workers, who were relatively close to her, were negative. Officials were awaiting results on tests of the hospital environment. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that tests on another worker at the Manhattan hospital who was concerned about a skin lesion, also appeared to be negative. The New York Post said yesterday that an employee in its accounting department had opened an envelope that "appeared to contain a white, powder-like substance." The newspaper, which has had one employee who contracted skin anthrax and another suspected case, said in a statement that the contents were being tested and results were expected within the next two days. The Postal Service, which has been at the front line of the anthrax attacks, yesterday continued testing of about 230 facilities across the country. "I want to emphasise that there are no new cases of contamination to report," Postal Service spokesman Azeezaly Jaffer told reporters. On Wednesday, officials detected anthrax in two dust-bins in a postal facility in Kansas City, Missouri, but there was no evidence of contamination of mail in the city. "That centre handles requests from stamp collectors and does not do general mail delivery," said Postal Service spokesman Bob Anderson. In Indianapolis, Anderson said that a small amount of anthrax was found at a private facility that repaired mail equipment. The anthrax, he said, was discovered on equipment sent for repair from Brentwood, the main processing centre in Washington, DC, where two workers have died from anthrax.

3 November 2001, London – A team of US special forces has had to be rescued after their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan due to bad weather. Four crew members were injured, although not seriously, in the crash at about 18.30, UTC, yesterday, the Pentagon said. A second helicopter on the same mission came to the aid of the crew and took them out of Afghan territory. According to a Pentagon official, the downed helicopter was later destroyed by F-14 Tomcats sent from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to prevent the helicopter from falling into Taliban or al-Qaeda hands. At an earlier briefing, Pentagon officials said that bad weather was hampering efforts to fly more special forces into Afghanistan by helicopter. US Joint Chiefs of Staff director of operations, Rear Admiral John Stufflebeam said that freezing rain had made it impossible to use helicopters to deploy the troops. "Within the last 24 hours it would be fair to report that the weather has been hampering our efforts but we won't stop. The ones who are trying to get in have not yet successfully gotten in," he said. US President George W. Bush has said that he is very satisfied that the bombing campaign against Afghanistan was unravelling bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. But he warned the public to be patient. "This is not an instant gratification war," he said at a White House question-and-answer session. "We're going to get him and them." Admiral Stufflebeam admitted that bin Laden was proving "elusive" but insisted that he would be found.

3 November 2001, London – US aircraft struck Taliban front lines north of the Afghan capital Kabul and close to the Pakistan border today, as bad weather complicated the US campaign. Columns of smoke swirled skywards, as bombers went into action across the Shomali plain, which runs from the Panjshir Valley to Kabul. Taliban forces are dug in across the plains and surrounding hills. Late today, two waves of aircraft passed over Kabul and bombed the east of the city, Reuters news agency reported. At the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif, where heavy fighting has been reported in the past week between the opposition Northern Alliance and Taliban troops, an opposition commander said his men had taken control of an outlying district and were moving closer to the town. There were reports of Taliban defections during the fighting, but none of these claims could be confirmed. The Taliban later said that they had recaptured all territory lost in the fighting. The USA said that bad weather caused the crash last night of a helicopter. It was the first time the USA has admitted losing an aircraft since the military campaign against the Taliban and the al-Qaeda terrorist network began on October 7. The Pentagon said that four members of its special forces were rescued after the helicopter crash-landed. It was deliberately destroyed by F-14 Tomcat fighters after the four crew members were taken on board a second helicopter and flown out of Afghan territory, officials said. The Pentagon flatly denied Taliban claims that a second helicopter had been shot down, which the Taliban said resulted in the deaths of "40 to 50" Americans.

5 November 2001, London – US heavy bombers hammered away at Taliban hilltop positions today outside the northern town of Taloqan in an ongoing effort to soften up Taliban defences. B-52 bombers struck at three separate sites about 30 miles north-east of Taloqan, near the country's northern border with Tajikistan. Also, US jets pounded Taliban positions to the east of the town, Mohammed Abil, a spokesman for the opposition Northern Alliance, said in a telephone interview. The US war planes were in action on several other fronts today. The Americans carried out strikes on the Taliban front line north of Kabul, in the Taliban's southern stronghold of Kandahar, and near the contested city of Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, the Afghan Islamic Press reported. The agency, which is based in Pakistan, also reported that US helicopter gun-ships attacked Taliban military positions near Kabul. However, the report could not be confirmed and the USA has not acknowledged using helicopter gun-ships so far in the campaign. Two loud explosions were heard on the outskirts of Kabul around 05.00, while artillery and heavy machine-gun fire reverberated from Taliban posts in the hills surrounding the Afghan capital. The Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency claimed that bombs killed ten people and injured 15 others in a village outside Mazar-e-Sharif in the north. Five people died and seven were wounded in a raid near Kandahar in the south, it said. The reports could not be independently confirmed. The Pentagon has repeatedly dismissed the Taliban's claims of widespread civilian casualties as lies. Yesterday, an attack by anti-Taliban forces outside Mazar-e-Sharif was reported as faltering only hours after it was launched, raising questions about the ability of the opposition to exploit US air strikes without the assistance of US ground troops. A key element of the US strategy has been to attack Taliban positions facing the Northern Alliance, especially on the front north of Kabul and on positions defending Taliban-held Mazar-e-Sharif. Toward that end, Rumsfeld said that Tajikistan and the USA would form an "assessment team" to look into ways in which the country could assist in the military operations. Tajikistan currently allows flights carrying US aid to cross its air-space and Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov said that assistance could be expanded to allow over-flights of military aircraft or the use of Tajikistan's airfields. In Afghanistan, opposition commanders around the other major front, north of Kabul, have said that they are preparing for a major offensive toward the capital after days of heavy US air-strikes. However, there have been few signs that a major push toward Kabul is in the offing.

6 November 2001, Kabul – US airplanes began a 31st day of attacks on Afghanistan's Taliban, north of Kabul, today, as the Pakistani-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said that opposition forces had retaken a Taliban-held district, 100km south of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, after five hours of fighting overnight. The district has changed hands several times since May, in clashes between the Taliban and forces loyal to General Abdul Rashid Dostum. AIP also reported US air raids in northern Balkh and Samangan provinces and around Bagram air-base. The opposition holds Bagram, just north of Kabul, but cannot use it, because the Taliban are dug in on the hills overlooking it.

7 November 2001, Rabat – The USA said yesterday that it had doubled the number of US forces inside Afghanistan to pin-point air targets, while President Bush said for the first time that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network sought nuclear weapons. Speaking via satellite to a Warsaw summit on terrorism, Bush told Eastern European nations that their "freedom is threatened once again" – this time by bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 aerial assaults on New York and Washington. He said that bin Laden and his followers were a threat to "every nation" and said that nations that fail to take action against terrorism would be held accountable, adding, "You're either with us or you're against us." Bush added nuclear weapons to the biological and chemical arms he has already accused Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network of seeking. In the past Bush has said that he would not put the US anthrax outbreak stemming from contaminated mail beyond bin Laden. Meanwhile in the air war, the USA pounded the ruling Taliban front lines north of the capital Kabul on the 31st day of the campaign to oust the Islamic militants and their Saudi-born "guest." In the north of the central Asian country, anti-Taliban forces reported gaining ground in an effort to recapture the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which commands key Taliban supply lines to western Afghanistan. The humanitarian organisation Oxfam said that tens of thousands of people in remote regions of Afghanistan could be dead within months, unless combatants acted quickly to prevent starvation. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said that special forces troops on the ground in Afghanistan had more than doubled from fewer than 100 announced last week. More were preparing to go in, when weather permitted, to help pin-point bombing targets. Bad weather, including freezing rain that keeps helicopters from flying safely, and ground fire from Taliban forces have foiled recent attempts to send in more US troops. Rumsfeld said that ground troops were spotting Taliban targets near the front line with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and supplying the opposition with weapons, ammunition and food. He said that sorties by US warplanes had reached 120 a day in the campaign to topple the Taliban and bin Laden, whom Washington accuses of masterminding the September 11 attacks with hijacked airliners that killed some 4,800 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. In his remarks to the conference of Eastern European leaders in Warsaw, Bush compared al-Qaeda with the fascists and totalitarians of the past half century. "We see the same intolerance of dissent, the same mad global ambitions, the same brutal determination to control every life, and all of life. We have seen the true nature of these terrorists, and the nature of their attacks," Bush said. Bush later met French President Jacques Chirac at the White House and afterwards stepped up pressure on other nations to support the war on terrorism. Chirac said that 2,000 French troops were now involved in military operations in the war against terrorism. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said yesterday that his country would provide up to 3,900 troops in response to a US request for armoured vehicles equipped to check terrain for contamination, as well as medical staff, special forces, air transport capacity and a naval detachment. The world-wide anthrax scare extended to the edge of Siberia, when the US consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia, said that anthrax spores were found in one of six unclassified diplomatic mailbags received from Washington and opened on October 25. The US Embassy in Pakistan said that white powder that tested positive for anthrax and was undergoing further tests was sent to the Lahore consulate in a letter mailed inside the country. A spate of anthrax-laced letters sent through the US mail has contaminated government offices including a mail facility serving the White House. There have been 17 confirmed cases to date, four of which were fatal. In Afghanistan, the opposition Northern Alliance said that it had gained ground in an effort to recapture the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif. "Our fighters have seized Zari Bazar, Baluch and Wayemar areas near Keshendeh in Balkh in overnight fighting," said Ustad Muhakik, one of the three veteran commanders fighting to take the city which controls access to western Afghanistan. Keshendeh lies some 25 miles south of the city and has been at the heart of fighting for several weeks. Other opposition forces fighting near the western city of Herat said they were bogged down against entrenched Taliban positions and were short of ammunition and weapons. US warplanes bombed Taliban positions behind the front lines north of Kabul, targeting tanks and artillery which look down on the opposition-held Bagram airbase. The Northern Alliance has called on the USA to step up air attacks on the enemy north of Kabul. Its commander welcomed the use of B-52 heavy bombers to strafe and carpet-bomb small areas, but Taliban reinforcements have been reported arriving at the front in their hundreds. In Kabul, the Taliban paraded what they said were parts of a downed US helicopter through the city in a show of defiance. The Pentagon denied that it had been downed, saying that bad weather forced a helicopter to crash. The Taliban say that the US-led campaign is a crusade against Islam and that it has killed more than 1,500 people, many of them civilians. Washington says that these figures are exaggerated. The USA said that it would fight on through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-November. An investigation has determined that a threat of possible terrorist attacks on bridges in California and other Western states was not credible, the FBI said yesterday. However, officials in charge of the bridges, including the landmark Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, said that a state of top alert would continue, with National Guard troops keeping watch over the famous spans. California Governor Gray Davis last week ordered security to be tightened around the state's major bridges, including the Golden Gate, saying that there would be an effort to "blow up one of those bridges."

8 November 2001, Washington – Afghan opposition forces, emboldened by intensive US air strikes, said that they would launch an offensive today to capture a strategic northern city from the ruling Taliban. With the conflict in Afghanistan in its 33rd day and President Bush saying that the Taliban were crumbling, commanders in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance said that they would move on Mazar-i-Sharif on two fronts. Elsewhere, Washington froze the assets of two financial networks it said helped fund Osama bin Laden, the man it accuses of masterminding the September 11 attacks on the USA and the target of the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan. "We will launch the two-pronged attack from the south-east and south-west," Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for the Northern Alliance, said, adding that the offensive would involve the use of tanks and artillery against Taliban fighters. Troops were positioned 8km from Mazar-i-Sharif airport to the south-east and 50km to the south-west, he said. The city would be a major prize for opposition forces, because it straddles crucial supply routes to Kabul in the south and also commands the most important airfield in the north of the country. Residents said that US jets had resumed bombing around the area, part of a strategy aimed at weakening the Taliban front lines to facilitate an opposition advance. They said that the Taliban were sending hundreds of fighters to reinforce the north of the country to prevent more progress by the opposition, which says it has taken three more districts south of Mazar-i-Sharif this week. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported today that the Taliban had arrested 15 Afghans, including a former army colonel, on suspicion of spying for the USA. "We are keeping a strict eye on US spies. They are traitors to Afghanistan and will never escape," AIP quoted a Taliban intelligence agency spokesman as saying. In the USA, the government closed the offices of two financial networks with links to bin Laden's al-Qaeda group as part of a global crack-down. "By shutting these networks down, we disrupt the murderer's work," Bush said. Bush yesterday held talks with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. "We know that slowly but surely the Taliban is crumbling. Its defences are crumbling. Its people are defecting," Bush told reporters in Washington. "We've got a sound strategy in place that has got Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda thugs on the run." Blair underscored a growing view of military analysts that a ground offensive may be needed to topple the Taliban and destroy bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. "I think that people know that the strategy has to encompass more than air-strikes alone. There are other operations that we will mount as well," Blair said. Military experts say that a spring ground offensive with thousands of US and allied troops is needed to oust the Taliban. UK newspapers reported that Blair was urging Bush to back a new push for Middle East peace as a way to retain the support of moderate Muslims for the campaign in Afghanistan. The USA has said that it will fight through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-November. Critics in the Muslim world and beyond have expressed growing concern about the civilian death toll. The Afghan Islamic Press estimated that the US bombing killed a total of 633 civilians and wounded up to 1,000 in the first 29 days of the campaign. The Taliban have put the death toll at 1,500, a figure the USA rejects as exaggerated.

8 November 2001, Islamabad – US bombing in northern Afghanistan today killed 85 fighters of a Pakistan-based militant group allied with the ruling Taliban, a spokesman for the militant Harkat Jihad-i-Islami group said. Many Harkat fighters were also wounded in the bombing on the Dara-i-Suf area of Samangan province south of the key northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, spokesman Kamal Azfar told Reuters. No independent confirmation was available for the report, which would mark the deadliest known attack on foreign fighters in Afghanistan since a US raid killed about 35 members of another Pakistani militant group in Kabul last month. Azfar said that his group had a presence in the area to help the Taliban movement fight the opposition Northern Alliance. But he declined to give the number of Harkat fighters in the area. The Northern Alliance, helped by the 33-day-old US air strikes against the Taliban, has reported advances in the area with the aim of capturing Mazar-i-Sharif, the Balkh provincial capital that could provide it with a vital supply route.

9 November 2001, Atlanta/Jabal-us-Saraj – Urging Americans to use their "eyes and ears" to thwart global terror, President Bush yesterday sought to bolster US resolve, as anti-Taliban forces readied an offensive against a strategic northern city. Shortly after Bush spoke, waves of US jets pounded Taliban front-line positions in Afghanistan, in one of the heaviest pre-dawn bombardments of the 34-day-old air war. Bush, addressing a public rattled by threats of fresh terror and a spate of anthrax outbreaks, said that the country had received its "marching orders" after the devastating hijack attacks on September 11. "In the face of this great tragedy, Americans are refusing to give terrorists the power," Bush said in a televised address from Atlanta, urging greater public vigilance. As Bush and other US officials pledged to drive home the campaign against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and its "guest," fugitive militant Osama bin Laden, anti-Taliban forces said they were preparing to take advantage of US air-strikes to launch an offensive against the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a key prize. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, a pivotal US ally, warned the Western allies that they risked losing the global public relations war, if bomb strikes continued to kill Afghan civilians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this month. However, US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice vowed that the bombing would continue and said that the USA would ultimately get bin Laden, prime suspect in the hijack attacks that killed some 4,800 people on US soil. Bush's effort to bolster US morale came as the war on the Taliban and al-Qaeda failed to produce any clear victories after more than a month of air strikes and the five-week investigation into attacks with the germ warfare weapon anthrax had yet to provide any answers. The head of the US military effort, Army General Tommy Franks, rejected criticism that the US campaign had been "timid" – although news reports said that he planned to ask Bush today for more resources to wage the fight. In the USA, health authorities urged vigilance over the threat of anthrax, even though no new cases of the deadly spores have been reported for more than a week. About 32,000 Americans began taking antibiotics in the past month in case they were exposed to anthrax bacteria, which have already killed four people and infected 13 others. Bush used his prime-time speech to ask Americans to use their "eyes and ears" to help deter future terror attacks, and he announced plans for a volunteer civil defence service to help respond to emergencies. Rice said that the campaign had disrupted al-Qaeda's training camps in the mountainous central Asian country, but she again rejected calls for the USA to stop the bombing when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in about ten days. "We have no choice but to root out al-Qaeda, to make certain that the Taliban cannot harbour them. We cannot pause and allow them to plan another major attack against the USA," Rice said. Attorney-General John Ashcroft said that the USA had won its opening battle in the war on terrorism, adding that the recent period of "extremely high alert" had passed. Near the town of Jabal-us-Saraj, several miles behind the front lines, witnesses reported a fierce US attack in the early hours of today with at least 40 bombs heard exploding near where Taliban fighters were dug in against the forces of the opposition Northern Alliance. The bombs fell as the Northern Alliance said that it would move on two fronts against Mazar-i-Sharif, which straddles supply routes to Kabul in the south and commands the most important airfield in the north. US officials said that Franks was to brief Bush on Friday and discuss needs for "resources" to fight the war, possibly to request more warplanes and better intelligence to pin-point the exact locations of the Taliban leadership. Residents of Mazar-i-Sharif said that US jets had been bombing the area and the Taliban were sending hundreds of fighters to reinforce their lines. A Pakistan-based militant Islamic group aligned with the Taliban, Harkat Jihad-i-Islami, said that US bombing killed 85 of its fighters to the south of Mazar-i-Sharif yesterday. The Taliban's stronghold in the southern city of Kandahar also came under bombardment yesterday, aimed at what were believed to be Taliban positions outside the city, CNN said. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said that the Taliban had arrested 15 Afghans, including a former army colonel, on suspicion of spying for the USA. Pakistan, hardening its stance, asked the Taliban to close its consulate in the southern port city of Karachi. Washington hailed the move but suggested that the Taliban Embassy in Islamabad be permitted to operate as a conduit between the warring sides. Further bolstering the military muscle arrayed against the Taliban, three Japanese destroyers left port today for the Indian Ocean, the first such move for Japanese forces since the Second World War. The Japanese naval vessels, which will aid in non-combat, logistic roles, were expected to be followed by a larger formal military support mission – joining forces from Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy and Turkey, either taking part in or backing up the US-led campaign. In Pakistan, police killed three people today when they opened fire on pro-Taliban protesters in a nation-wide crackdown on a general strike called by Islamic parties against government support for the war on Afghanistan. Police said that they baton-charged and lobbed tear-gas at more than 1,000 protesters blocking a train at Shadan Lund railway station, 90 miles from the central Punjab city of Multan, before opening fire. Dr Khalil-ur-Rehman at the Rural Health Centre in Shadan Lund said that three people died of bullet wounds and four were wounded. Police said that they had detained 22 protesters. Elsewhere in Pakistan, police fired tear-gas and warning shots to scatter anti-government protesters. Roads were almost deserted and shops shuttered but, because the government also declared today a national holiday to mark the birthday of Pakistan's national poet, Allama Iqbal, it was difficult to gauge the extent of the strike. Around 100 protesters, who were blocking a national highway near Sibi, some 60 miles south-east of Quetta in Baluchistan province, were detained, police said. Police fired into the air and used tear-gas and baton charges to disperse the crowd. Police also fired tear-gas at protesters in the cities of Karachi and Rawalpindi and in the north-western city of Peshawar, gateway to the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan. In Lahore, capital of populous Punjab province, streets were empty and almost all markets were closed, though there were no reports of any protests or demonstrations.

9 November 2001, New York – The collapse of the World Trade Center towers delivered an unprecedented blow to the art world, destroying an estimated $100 million in artwork, analysts and experts said. The sheer magnitude of the September 11 attacks by two hijacked commercial aircraft and the enormous size of the 110-storey twin towers have wrought what analysts said may be the largest single-incident art loss in history. Beyond such public works as a Calder sculpture and a Miro tapestry, which once adorned the Trade Center's plazas or lobbies, corporations also lost millions of dollars in art. The company often mentioned as having suffered the greatest loss of life in the attack, bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald, was also home to the Iris and B. Cantor collections of Rodin sculptures, among the world's foremost assemblage of Rodins. Along with over 700 Cantor employees, the collection is now lost. Dr Dietrich von Frank, president and CEO of AXA Art, the world's largest art insurer, said that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which leased the property to Silverstein Properties Inc., had a "very extensive" collection, including works by Calder, Miro, Lichtenstein and Nevelson. And, while he said that a few works had survived the collapse of the two towers, "everything that we had insured in the towers is basically gone. Even bronze sculptures, because of the heat from the fires, are gone. My initial estimate was that the entire artwork lost in both towers would have been in excess of $100 million," von Frank said in an interview, adding that his widely quoted figure remained an estimate. "It's rather difficult to pin-point exactly the artwork that has been lost," von Frank said, although he said that claims from two of AXA Art's three WTC clients were nearly complete. "It's going to take a while for people to figure out where many of the works might have been," agreed Anna Kisluk, director of art services for the Art Loss Register, a private company that maintains a computerized image database of stolen and missing works of art. Works from corporate collections are routinely lent out for travelling exhibits, she said. Complicating the problem is the loss of records, many of which were also housed in the Trade Center. Port Authority officials have documented more than half a dozen large-scale works appraised at over $8 million that were either lost or damaged. Among those were one of the Center's most recognisable icons, The Sphere, Fritz Koenig's 27-foot-high bronze sphere, which sat in the fountain plaza between the two towers. Amazingly, "the sphere was fairly intact," said Allen Morrison, a Port Authority spokesman, and is one of a few works that could be a candidate for restoration. Another is Calder's Bent Propellor, a steel sculpture that stood in the plaza in front of 2 World Trade Center. About one-third to one-half of it has been recovered, and the Calder Foundation is looking for the rest with the hope of eventually restoring it. Parts of Calder's Stabile have also been recovered, said Morrison, who added, "I don't know what the status is" in terms of its suitability for restoration. However, more fragile pieces, such as Joan Miro's Tapestry for World Trade Centre, a 20-by-35-foot 1974 work that hung in the 2 World Trade Center lobby for nearly 20 years, are gone. The Spanish government has reportedly asked artist Josep Royo to reconstruct the tapestry, which was appraised at $2 million.

10 November 2001, Washington/Jabal-us-Saraj – In a major setback for the Taliban, Afghanistan's Northern Alliance captured the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif and the whole of Sar-i-Pol province to the south, setting the stage today for a push towards Kabul. Taliban Defence Minister Obaidullah Akhund said that the militia had lost the strategic northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif to the Northern Alliance. The ancient city straddles major supply routes between Uzbekistan and the Afghan capital, Kabul, and its loss marks the first major blow to the Taliban in 35 days of US attacks. Later, the Northern Alliance said that it had also taken Sar-i-Pol province from the Taliban. "Early in the morning, Sar-i-Pol came under the control of the government," opposition interior minister Yunis Qanuni said, referring to the United Front, or Northern Alliance, whose president Burhanuddin Rabbani holds the Afghan seat in the United Nations. He said that the town of Hairatan on the Amu Darya river that marks Afghanistan's northern border had also been taken. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born fundamentalist who the USA says masterminded the September 11 assaults on New York and Washington, said in an interview reported by Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that he had nuclear and chemical weapons and might use them to respond to US attacks. "I wish to declare that, if the USA use chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as a deterrent," the newspaper quoted bin Laden as telling a well-known Pakistani journalist in Afghanistan on Wednesday night (November 7). Independent experts said that it was unlikely that bin Laden had developed a nuclear capability. The reports from the war front came as New York went on high alert for a world summit meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in the city where hijacked airliners destroyed the World Trade Center in suicide attacks on September 11. In Mazar-i-Sharif, anti-Taliban forces, led by ethnic Uzbek Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, said that they seized control of the airport and took the city after a 90-minute battle. "We have taken Mazar-i-Sharif. The Taliban troops have fled. The only Taliban left behind are the prisoners we have taken. We have full control of the town. The airport is in our hands, too," Dostum said. He said that more than 200 Taliban soldiers had been taken prisoner. The overall death-toll in the battle was not immediately known. Mazar-i-Sharif could also provide a useful base inside Afghanistan for US forces to ramp up their military operations. The Afghan opposition's past gains around the area have been short-lived in the face of stubborn Taliban resistance. The opposition's attack on the city came after US planes bombarded Taliban defences and apparently devastated their front lines. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday that in an "excess of caution" the city had begun systematically testing its subway system, one of the world's most extensive, for traces of the potential germ-warfare agent anthrax. Seven people in New York – three at the New York Post tabloid, two at NBC News, one at ABC News and one at CBS News – have been diagnosed with skin anthrax and another person, a hospital worker, has died from the more deadly pulmonary form of the disease.

10 November 2001, Washington – Tests have found anthrax contamination in three more sites within the Hart Senate Office Building, which has been closed since October 17, US Capitol Police said today. California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein said that contamination was found in her office. Capitol Hill sources said that anthrax also was found in the offices of Florida Democrat Bob Graham and Idaho Republican Larry Craig. The Hart Building was closed two days after discovery of the anthrax bacterium in a letter mailed to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. A total of 28 people, most of them Daschle staff workers, tested positive for exposure to the potentially deadly spores but none has become ill. Feinstein said that traces of anthrax were found in the mailroom of her office. "The spores are probably from mail that was contaminated by another letter with anthrax," she said in a statement. "We were advised by the attending physician's office that the medical risk is virtually zero and no additional tests or treatment are recommended," Feinstein said. She said that none of her employees reported any signs of anthrax illness. In the past two weeks, a limited number of senators and staff workers have been allowed to remove personal items and office equipment from the Hart Building. Four offices in the Longworth House Office Building were closed, because anthrax was found inside them. The mailroom of the Ford House Office Building was also closed due to anthrax. All of the other congressional office buildings were open. Since early October, there have been 17 confirmed cases of anthrax in the USA, including ten cases of inhalation anthrax. Four people, two of them postal workers in Washington, have died after inhaling spores from contaminated letters mailed following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed more than 4,800 people.

12 November 2001, Bagram/Jabal-us-Saraj – Backed by US bombers and firing relentless volleys of heavy artillery, Afghan opposition fighters engaged Taliban front-line fighters north of Kabul today for the first time since the US war began 37 days ago. Buoyed by the lightning capture in just 70 hours of about 40 per cent of the country, the Northern Alliance looked set to try to march on the Afghan capital despite the entrenched positions of the fundamentalist militia arrayed between them and their ultimate prize and US pleas to wait at the gates. Iranian radio said that the Northern Alliance forces of veteran Mujahideen fighter, or holy warrior, Ismail Khan, had taken western Herat, an ancient city, whose fall would open the way to southern Kandahar, the power base of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar – the chief protector of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden. In some positions in the north, a witness saw Western soldiers near the front lines moving with Northern Alliance fighters, apparently helping to co-ordinate the attacks across Afghanistan. Fierce exchanges of artillery fire erupted all along the front line between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban that crosses the Shomali Plain some 15 miles north of Kabul, witnesses said. Surrounded by tanks and at least 1,000 men, senior opposition commander General Baba Jan directed the artillery fire from front-line Bagram air-base, as Taliban shells landed just 20 metres away. Thousands more reinforcements as well as dozens of tanks and artillery pieces were pouring toward the frontline from positions in the Panjsher valley, witnesses said. Overhead, F-18 jets pounded the Taliban fighters with dozens of bombs, and B-52 bombers repeatedly strafed the Ghlay Nasro front-line trench positions of the fundamentalist militia. "This morning at 08.00 hrs, our Defence Ministry took a decision to attack toward the city," Commander Toryalai said. "But there was a problem in preparations and now we hope that the ground offensive will start this afternoon," he said. The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance said that weekend (November 10-11) battles had captured large swaths of north Afghanistan, isolated thousands of Taliban fighters in the north-eastern province of Kunduz and opened the door for a move on the capital, Kabul. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that Kunduz, the last city held by the Taliban in the north of the country, had fallen, opening the road for supplies of arms stockpiled in Tajikistan. The Taliban said that it still controlled the city, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said. Thousands of Taliban fighters in Kunduz had refused to vacate the city and said that they would fight to the last, AIP quoted Taliban sources as saying. The USA has supported opposition forces with more than a month of relentless air-strikes on the Taliban to punish the fundamentalist militia for harbouring bin Laden, prime suspect in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. However, Washington said that it did not want the Northern Alliance to enter Kabul, where many loathe the opposition for their internecine squabbles of the 1990s, which unleashed savage rocket attacks on the city and killed some 50,000 residents. The USA said that it wanted agreement on the structure of a broad-based post-Taliban government before opposition forces move into the capital. But there has been no visible sign of progress on forming a credible alternative to the Taliban that would be ready to take power if the hard-line militia is driven out. The Northern Alliance said that it may not wait. In Kabul, Taliban check-points set up at crossroads at the weekend had been withdrawn, but many fighters were to be seen in the city, driving through the streets or guarding government buildings

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