ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – British Prime Minister Tony Blair characterized the terrorist attacks in the United States as a crime against humanity Friday, saying the military response would be proportionate to an offense of such magnitude.
Blair, speaking during a brief visit to Pakistan to show support for President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, also said that military action would be targeted and "not directed against the Afghan people."
Bin Laden lives in neighboring Afghanistan under the protection of the ruling Taliban militia, with whom Pakistan had kept close ties for years. Musharraf has backed the U.S.-led campaign against Usama bin Laden despite opposition from his country's Islamic parties.
Blair said he made the journey to show gratitude for Pakistan's stand and to stress that any military action would not be directed against the Islamic world.
"The 11th of September was an outrage against the civilized values of all peoples of all faiths in the world," Blair said. "This was not a crime against the West. It was a crime against humanity."
Blair also maintained that attacks would not target the Afghan people, who have been suffering under the weight of more than a generation of conflict.
The prime minister said that the evidence against bin Laden was "overwhelming and compelling." He called Musharraf's support "vital" — especially considering Pakistan's shared border with Afghanistan.
"Pakistan has made the right choice," the prime minister said, Musharraf at his side.
While on the way from Pakistan from Russia, Blair said the visit was "part of making sure that around Afghanistan we have all the people supporting us."
Blair said he wanted to show that Pakistan's support would not go unnoticed after years of political isolation due to its 1998 nuclear test and Musharraf's military coup the following year.
The prime minister was to leave later for India.
On Thursday, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to state that evidence provided by the connects bin Laden to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, accused Blair of encouraging war. But Zaeef did not criticize Pakistan, the only country to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile Friday, fresh video footage surfaced showing bin Laden near dry, rugged mountains, somberly watching followers and accompanied by his top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, and other aides.
The images were broadcast on Qatar's Al-Jazeera television, often one of the first sources of material from bin Laden. The station said it believed the footage was of a celebration of the marriage of his al-Qaida terrorist network and al-Zawahri's Egyptian Jihad group. Bin Laden made no statement on the tape, and it was unclear when the images were filmed.
Inside Afghanistan, meanwhile, there were signs the Taliban were trying to gain support. Regime officials have been meeting with local leaders across the country, hoping in particular to get backing from influential tribal figures.
During a meeting in eastern Khost province, Taliban officials threatened to burn the homes of anyone loyal to former king Mohammad Zaher Shah, according to Taliban radio Thursday night. The exiled monarch has been meeting with opposition leaders in Rome to discuss setting up a new government should the Taliban lose power.
From London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw addressed Afghans Friday in a message broadcast in Pashtu and other regional languages by the British Broadcasting Corp.'s World Service.
"We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan," Straw said in the broadcast, according to the British Foreign Office. "The Taliban regime harms Afghanistan and its people by protecting Osama bin Laden and his colleagues from justice."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.