BRITAIN JOINS 

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By FROM SHRABANI BASU in London
  • Published 7.10.01
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London, Oct. 7 :    London, Oct. 7:  British Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed today that British troops were involved in the military action against Afghanistan and said the coalition was "mindful of the determination to avoid civilian casualties". Addressing the nation from 10 Downing St an hour after the attacks had begun, Blair said the coalition would act with "reason and resolve and take action against the Taliban regime". Blair confirmed that British bases in Diego Garcia, British reconnaissance aircraft and British missile firing submarines were helping the US forces. The missile-firing subs were in use tonight, he added. He said the effort was on three fronts: military, diplomatic and humanitarian. He said he could not recall when he had such a powerful coalition of support from so many countries in his time as Prime Minister. "That coalition has strengthened our resolve," he said. "There is danger of acting," he acknowledged. "But the dangers of inaction are far greater and a threat to the stability of the world." On the humanitarian front, he pledged that the Western alliance against terrorism would deliver stability to Afghanistan. Pointing out that four million Afghans had been on the move even before the events of September 11, he pledged that the coalition would try to see that some form of stability returned to Afghanistan and that people from the region could return or stay in the region. Blair praised President George W. Bush for his measured action as it came nearly a month after the attack on America and only after it had been established that Osama Bin Laden was indeed responsible for the attacks. The Taliban in supporting bin Laden had also become a legitimate target, he said. "The Taliban were asked to face consequences of siding with justice or siding with terror. They chose terror," said Blair. He also praised the British armed forces as the finest in the world.