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Taliban leader: U.S. should 'think again' before attack

An F-14 lands on the USS Roosevelt after deployment to the Mediterranean  

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Taliban's supreme leader Sunday issued a strongly worded warning to the United States to "think and think again" about attacking his country.

In an interview broadcast over Taliban-controlled Kabul Radio, Mullah Mohammed Omar warned any U.S. attack would fail, just as Russia's 10-year campaign to control the country ended in failure in 1989.

"If you attack us, there will be no difference between you and the Russians," Omar said. "We are peace-loving and we hate terrorism. The murder of one person is the same as the murder of all humanity." (Full story)

In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center Towers and heavily damaged the Pentagon, the United States has demanded that Afghanistan turn over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and any members of his al Qaeda organization operating in the country.

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The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan said Sunday that bin Laden is under the control of the Taliban and cannot move around freely, but he will not be turned over unconditionally to the United States.

In an interview with CNN, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said Taliban security officials have bin Laden under their control, although his precise location is constantly changing.

"We have said that we don't know exactly where he is. That doesn't mean that we're not aware of his whereabouts," he said. "The location is shifting all the time, but we know where he is."

Zaeef said the United States must supply the Taliban with evidence that bin Laden was involved in the September 11 attacks and enter into negotiations before the Taliban will consider turning him over to U.S. officials.

"We've told the Taliban government what they should be doing," said White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card on Fox News Sunday. "They have got to turn not only Osama bin Laden over, but all the operatives of the al Qaeda organization. ... And it is not negotiable." (Full story)

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Sunday he believes there are still "substantial risks" of terrorist attacks against the United States.

Ashcroft told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" investigators believe there could still be terrorists operating in the United States following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"It's very unlikely that all of those associated with the attacks of September 11 are now detained or have been detected," Ashcroft said.

The attorney general said more than 500 people have been detained or arrested by federal authorities.

He said the individuals fall into three groups: people who have violated their immigration status, people held as material witnesses in the vast investigation and people who have violated state and local laws.

He also urged Congress to pass the anti-terrorism package sought by the White House this week. (Full story)

Latest developments:

• Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said in an interview with CNN Sunday that while his country is cooperating with the United States to build a coalition against terrorism, "I would not like Pakistani troops to be crossing the borders into Afghanistan." Musharraf also stopped short of saying he would allow U.S. troops to be based on Pakistani soil. (Full story)

• A U.S. congressional delegation met Sunday in Rome with exiled former Afghan king Mohammed Zahir Shah. Shah indicated he would be willing to lead an interim government if the Taliban were overthrown. Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar accused the United States of trying to install a "puppet government" to replace the hard-line Islamic regime, and warned "if [the king] tries to come back to Afghanistan, he has chosen his destruction." (Full story)

• New York City will start issuing $1 billion worth of "recovery notes" to help the city rebuild. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the bonds will be available starting Monday. (Full story)

• The Taliban have sent a special team to the northeastern city of Jalalabad to question a British female journalist arrested after crossing into Afghanistan, the Afghan Islamic Press agency reported. Yvonne Ridley, 43, a reporter for the London-based Sunday Express, was arrested on Friday along with two Afghan companions.

• In Afghanistan, the judge in the case of eight international aid workers charged with trying to convert Muslims to Christianity told them Sunday their trial would not be affected by the possibility of a U.S.-led retaliation for terrorist attacks in the United States. (Full story)

• The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the United States on Sunday to continue pursuing diplomatic efforts and avoid "indiscriminate bombing" in its efforts to fight global terrorism. Jackson has been invited by the Taliban to travel to Afghanistan as a mediator, but said Saturday he has "no present plans" to go there. (Full story)

• Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said Sunday his country stands "as one" with the United States in its war against terrorism. Prince Bandar bin Sultan denied a report that Saudi Arabia refused a U.S. request to use a Saudi air base. He said no such request has been made. (Full story)

• As U.N. aid convoys carrying food and supplies headed for Afghanistan from Pakistan on Sunday, a top official for the U.N.'s relief agency said 3 million people in Afghanistan "are at grave risk." (Full story)

• The official number of people missing in the rubble of the World Trade Center was 5,219, Giuliani said Sunday. The list was compiled from six separate sources, so it is likely that some names were listed more than once. Giuliani said 314 deaths have been confirmed; 255 of the dead have been identified; and 1,074 people have applied for death certificates.

• The Department of Defense confirmed Sunday that Army contractors Donna Bowen and Terrance Lynch and Army civilian employees John J. Chada and Patricia J. Statz have been identified as victims of the attack on the Pentagon. The number of people believed to have been killed in the attack stands at 189; to date, 118 remains have been recovered and transported to Dover Air Force Base for identification; 84 victims have been positively identified.

• More than 2,000 people attended a "Concert of Remembrance" Sunday at New York's Carnegie Hall. The concert featured performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and legendary opera singer Leontyne Price, who came out of retirement for the concert.

• About 150 people participated in an anti-war march in New York on Sunday. The marchers started at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village, where a wall of pictures of the missing victims of the World Trade Center attacks has been drawing visitors, and ended in a rally at Union Square Park.

• President Bush returned to the White House Sunday after spending the weekend at Camp David with first lady Laura Bush. Before returning to Washington, Bush met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and attended church services with Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and the first lady. (Full story)

• President Bush plans to name retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing to the newly created post deputy national security adviser focused on combating terrorism, senior government officials told CNN on Sunday. (Full story)

• The Bush administration is considering an economic aid package to help people who lost jobs in the airline and other industries affected by the September 11 attacks, a senior administration official told CNN Saturday. (Full story)

• Shouting the traditional "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" Giuliani declared the city open for business during an appearance on the comedy show "Saturday Night Live." (Full story)


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