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UK offers new bin Laden evidence

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Bin Laden has boasted about terror attacks, Blair said  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Osama bin Laden has gloated about his role in the September 11 terror attacks, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

Blair told the House of Commons that transcripts taken from videos which have not been broadcast show bin Laden coming closer than ever before to admitting that he masterminded the suicide strikes.

"The intelligence material now leaves no doubt whatever of the guilt of bin Laden and his associates," Blair said.

Blair also referred to the "total collapse" and not the retreat of the Taliban in his statement to parliament on Wednesday.

"Though there may be pockets of resistance, the idea that this has been some kind of tactical retreat is just the latest Taliban lie. They are in total collapse."

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Anti-Taliban forces have swept through the north of the country during the past couple of days and are now focusing on the Taliban strong-hold of Kandahar.

Blair said defections had helped in the "evaporation" of the Taliban forces and he called on the ethnic groups in the south of the country to join in the uprising.

The British government also published, on its Web site and in the House of Commons library, transcript excerpts of the video in which it says bin Laden admitted taking his campaign to the United States.

The document quotes bin Laden as saying: "It is what we instigated for a while, in self-defence. If avenging the killing of our people is terrorism, let history be a witness that we are terrorists.

"The battle has been moved inside America, and we shall continue until we win this battle, or die in the cause and meet our maker."

In his statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday Blair said: "Far from hiding their guilt, they gloat about it."

Other videos broadcast on Arab television, and subsequently shown around the world, have shown bin Laden denying involvement.

The British government revealed last month that three of the 19 involved in the kamikaze attacks on the U.S. had been positively identified as "known associates" of bin Laden.

In the updated document Blair said a "majority" have links.

He vowed the global coalition will continue to hunt them down. "They will face justice and today they have far fewer places to hide and far fewer people who wish to protect them," he said.

The U.S. has shown its evidence to NATO Secretary-General George Robertson and selected world leaders in the global coalition against terror, but not the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Taliban had requested to see the evidence before handing over Saudi-born dissident bin Laden, but President George W. Bush's administration had always refused.

The British Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday that recent gains by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance did not mean the coalition against terror was losing sight of the main target in Afghanistan, the pursuit of bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.

British officials admitted they did not where bin Laden is but did know he is on the move. There was not "actionable intelligence" available, they said.


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