have been the UK's immediate objectives?
were set out in the paper Defeating
International Terrorism: Campaign Objectives
bring Usama Bin Laden and other Al Qaida leaders
prevent Usama Bin Laden and the Al Qaida network
from posing a continuing terrorist threat;
this end to ensure that Afghanistan ceases to harbour
and sustain international terrorism and enables
us to verify that the camps where terrorists train
have been destroyed;
the attacks legal?
operations are a justified, measured and legitimate
response under international law.
of the UN Charter permits self defence but requires
states to inform the Security Council – which the UK
and the US have done.
UK participation really been a token rather than a meaningful
UK's contribution has been a small but important one:
a visible sign of our support for US action.
As the Prime Minister has repeatedly said, we
are pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with the US.
Some of the RAF aircraft involved in the operation have
capabilities which complement US capabilities.
United States has made no secret of how much they value
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on 15
has just been terrific in this conflict and has been,
and is today, a superb partner."
Furthermore, the UK's offer
to lead the International Security Assistance Force
provides a major contribution to the efforts to support
the new legitimate government of Afghanistan restore
order to the country after 23 years of war and ensure
that it never again provides a haven for terrorism.
continue military action?
pressure needs to be maintained and the gains made must
not be lost. Al Qaida and the Taliban remaining in Afghanistan
must not be allowed to present a renewed threat to either
legitimate government in the country or international
camps can be rebuilt.
Repeated strikes on the same targets are sometimes
necessary to ensure that terrorists cannot use them
about civilian casualties?
action inevitably carries risks. But everything possible
has been done to reduce those risks to the absolute
minimum. Very great care has been taken in the choice
of targets; only terrorist facilities, military forces
and installations have been attacked. Great care has
also been taken in the choice of weapons, making sure
that they have been appropriate to the specific target.
vast majority of strikes have been effective. Very few
caused civilian casualties. It
is impossible to know for sure how many civilians have
been killed or injured as a result of coalition action
in Afghanistan, but all claims have been carefully investigated,
and as the Taliban have been driven from control of
the country, many of their claims have been shown to
be lies or exaggeration.
acted alone – international support?
other countries, amongst them France, Germany, Australia
and Canada, offered support, as did NATO. The international
coalition remains strong, and nineteen countries are
now involved in providing the International Security
Assistance Force in Kabul to help support the Afghan
Interim Authority under Hamid Kharzai.
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