Britain's foreign secretary broadcasts message to Afghan people
LONDON (CNN) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw broadcast a message early Friday to the people of Afghanistan, reassuring them that the international coalition against terrorism has no "quarrel" with them and that it only wants to bring peace to their country.
In the brief message, which was broadcast by BBC World Service Radio to Afghanistan and surrounding regions at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday (6 a.m. local time Friday), Straw said the battle the international coalition will undertake is "not a fight against Islam, it's a fight against terror."
"All religions value life, justice, compassion," he said. "Terrorists do not."
Straw said there is no rush to retaliate for the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States that left thousands dead.
"Our interest is not revenge, but justice and security."
He said information and evidence has been "patiently and methodically" gathered, and it "points clearly to the involvement of the terrorist group" al-Qaeda, headed by accused mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Straw's message, broadcast in Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and other languages of the region, said Britain and the coalition is seeking justice for the attacks.
It also said the country's ruling Taliban -- which has been asked to turn over bin Laden and has not -- shares the guilt of the terrorists.
"While the Taliban connives with foreign terrorists, the Afghan people suffer from poverty, drought and hunger," Straw said, promising to help.
"We want to do more both now and in the future," he said, calling the commitment to the people of Afghanistan "simple and sincere."
He blamed the Taliban for blocking aid already trying to get into the country from the international community, and promised that ridding the country of terrorists would bring better times for the people of the country.
"As soon as this stops the world will work with you, to build a better future for you, and for your children."
"We want to work with responsible Afghans to bring peace to the country and to help it on the path of stable development," he said.
"Afghanistan's friends will be generous in their help."
The message was timed for the most popular listening period in Afghanistan -- early morning -- and was also broadcast by Voice of America.
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