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US Rallying for Support

President Bush has a host of new initiatives to boost support for the US offensive against Afghanistan.

In order to win more American and international support for the war on terrorism, President Bush plans to give a series of speeches to U.S. and foreign audiences next week.

Meetings with key allies including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac as well as the leaders of India, Brazil, Ireland and Algeria are also in the offing.

To react faster to claims made by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and to sway Muslim opinion, the United States and Britain will team up "to help provide accurate and timely information on the war against terrorism to the international community," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

With this in mind, America plans to launch a "Radio Free Afghanistan". A committee of the House of Representatives approved legislation for the radio service which will broadcast in local languages to explain America's war goals.

The radio initiative will cost about $20m. This is hoped to speed up the flow of information between the combat zone and the West.

Along with Britain, the US is also setting up a rapid-reaction media centre in Pakistan to counter enemy propaganda effectively.