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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Signs Order Freezing Assets of Terrorists

ReutersA Northern Alliance soldier manning a rocket launcher at Bagram airport, near Kabul.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush, calling for a "strike on the financial foundation" of terrorists, demanded Monday that foreign banks follow America's lead and freeze the assets of 27 individuals and organizations. Osama bin Laden accused Bush of leading a new crusade against Islam "under the flag of the cross."

Bush said the order that took effect one minute after midnight applied to "terrorist organizations, individuals, terrorist leaders, a corporation that serves as a front for terrorism and several nonprofit organizations." He conceded they operate primarily overseas, adding that as a result, "We're putting banks and financial institutions around the world on notice."

If they fail to assist, he said, the Treasury Department "now has the authority to freeze their banks' assets and transactions in the United States."

Halfway around the world, bin Laden urged Pakistani Moslems to fight "the American crusade." The Saudi exile has been named repeatedly by administration officials as the chief culprit behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a statement dated Sunday and broadcast Monday, he said some Pakistanis died opposing American plans to use Pakistan as a springboard in the battle against terrorism. "We hope that they are the first martyrs in Islam's battle in this era against the new crusade and Jewish campaign led by the big crusader Bush under the flag of the cross," he said of the dead. The statement was broadcast by Al-Jazeera, a Qatar satellite channel.

At the same time, the leader of Afghanistan's ruling militia, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said the United States should withdraw from the Persian Gulf and "put an end to the biased attitude on the issue of Palestine."

In a faxed statement, he said the death of bin Laden would do little to remove any threat to the United States.

Administration officials indicated a continuing concern about more terrorism directed at the United States. Concerned about possible chemical weapons attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration extended Sunday's ban on crop-dusting from airplanes in domestic airspace.

Bush coupled his remarks about the financial network of terrorists with a fresh declaration that he was "concerned about the shock this had on the economy." But he said "the fundamentals for [economic] growth are strong," and added defiantly, "We'll come out of this and we'll come out of it strong."

There was at least some sign of optimism on Wall Street, where the stock market opened sharply higher after a week of exceptionally steep declines.

Flanked by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Bush said: "Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations. Today, we're asking the world to stop payment." He called the list "the financial equivalent of law enforcement's most-wanted list."

A fact sheet issued by the White House expanded an order put in place during the administration of President Bill Clinton. It expands the class of affected groups to all those who are "associated with" designated terrorist groups, and "establishes our ability to block the U.S. assets of, and deny access to U.S. markets, those foreign banks that refuse to freeze terrorist assets."

In his remarks, the president said he recognized that some European countries would probably need to rewrite their own laws to meet America's conditions for choking off the financial network. He said the administration would respond on a "case-by-case basis" in determining how to measure compliance.

Powell repeated the administration's view that bin Laden was culpable for the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 6,000. "There's no question that this network ... this guy at the head of this network, the chairman of this holding company of terrorism, is the one who's responsible."

The president's executive order marked the first public step of the financial elements of his declared war on terrorism. He was working on the diplomatic front during the day, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien at the White House.

At the same time, American military forces are deploying around the world in anticipation of an expected strike against bin Laden and his al-Qaida network. Pakistan announced Monday it had removed its diplomats from Afghanistan.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday called for the United Nations to play a major role in the long-term international fight against terrorism.

The United States and Russia gave immediate support to the appeal.

But there is no clear agreement yet on what the world body can and should do.

Addressing a scaled-down meeting of the General Assembly, Annan declared that only the UN can give "global legitimacy" to the long-term struggle against "the unspeakable horror" of terrorism.

He urged all countries to work together to strengthen international peace and security "by cementing the ties among nations, and not subjecting them to new strains."

Backing Annan, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the General Assembly: "It is necessary to strengthen and enhance the role of the United Nations as an indispensable instrument for maintaining international peace and security and for mobilizing people of the world against new, unprecedented threats."

Afghanistan's Armed Forces

Forces of the Taliban: 40,000-60,000 troops.

  • Small arms: AK assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, recoilless rifles.
  • Armored forces (650 vehicles total): T-62, T-54, T-55 main battle tanks, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, BTR troop carriers, BRDM-2 scout cars.
  • Artillery: 76mm mountain gun, 122mm and 152mm towed guns, 107mm and 122 mm multiple-rocket launch systems, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars.
  • Air Defenses: 23 mm ZU-23-2 automatic cannons, 100 mm anti-aircraft guns, possibly U.S.-made Stinger surface-to-air missiles.
  • Air Force: 10 Su-22 fighter-bombers, 5 MiG-21 fighters, 10 transport helicopters, 40 cargo airplanes.
  • Forces of the Northern Alliance: 12,000-15,000 troops.

  • Small arms: AK assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, recoilless rifles.
  • Armored forces (60-70 vehicles total): T-62, T-54, T-55 main battle tanks, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, BTR troop carriers, BRDM-2 scout cars.
  • Artillery: 107mm, 122mm, 140mm, 220mm multiple launch rocket systems, 82mm, 120mm mortars, 100mm, 122mm, 152mm towed guns, 76mm mountain guns.
  • Air Defenses: One ZSU-23-4 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, ZU-23-2 truck-mounted automatic cannons, Stinger surface-to-air missiles.
  • Missiles: FROG-7 surface-to-surface missiles, Scud-B short-range ballistic missiles (25-30 missiles at most).
  • Air Force: Eight transport helicopters, 3-4 cargo airplanes.
  • Source: AP