By Andrew Buncombe - Qaleh, Afghanistan
The Independent (London, England)
President George Bush delivered a stern call to members of the United Nations yesterday to step up contributions to the US-led war on terrorism, saying "the time for action" against a global threat had arrived.
As he spoke, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan was consolidating the first major victory of the US-led coalition against terror, driving the Taliban out of large areas of northern Afghanistan following the fall of the city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday. But in an interview with a Pakistani newspaper, chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden claimed to have nuclear and chemical weapons. He threatened to use them if the US employed such weapons against him.
Mr Bush told 48 presidents and prime ministers and 114 foreign ministers at the annual opening of the UN General Assembly in New York: "Every nation has a stake in this cause. As we meet, the terrorists are planning more murder, perhaps in my country or perhaps in yours."
He warned that the battle was essential to rid the world of a threat of attack by chemical, biological or nuclear weapons posed by Mr bin Laden.
"We're asking for a comprehensive commitment to this fight," Mr Bush said in a speech delivered with animation and punctuated with a clenched fist. "In this war of terror, each of us must answer for what we have done or what we have left undone."
Mr Bush's speech covered little new ground, though he repeated his support for a Palestinian state. It was, however, heavy with symbolism. The delegates, he said, were meeting in a "hall devoted to peace, in a city scarred by violence". He pointed out that just a few miles away from the UN's headquarters in midtown Manhattan, the bodies of thousands of innocent people remain buried in the rubble of the World Trade Centre. …