LONDON – Prime Minister Tony Blair plans to tell the Taliban time has run out for handing over Usama bin Laden and British forces will join the United States in military strikes, his aides said Monday.
Blair will issue the stark warning to Afghanistan's ruling Taliban in a Tuesday speech to a Labor Party conference, according to an advance preview given Britain's major media outlets by Labor officials. The Associated Press received the same briefing from a party official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Blair is prepared announce the strikes will be directed at bin Laden's training camps and Taliban military and financial targets.
Military action will be "proportionate" and "targeted" and everything possible will be done to minimize civilian casualties, the official said. A timetable for the attacks has not been set, he said.
Blair's speech comes as the United States continues a massive military buildup in the region around Afghanistan. The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk left Tokyo on Monday to join other U.S. forces being positioned for possible action.
Blair's speech comes a day after Pakistan's president said he had all but given up on efforts to mediate the standoff. Gen. Pervez Musharraf, suggested that U.S. military action now seemed inevitable.
Blair will call on the international community to destroy the machinery of terror, work together to foster greater understanding between nations and faiths, and to address injustices in the world, the official said.