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Britons warned away from Pakistan

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has urged citizens to stay away from Pakistan as pressure grows on neighbouring Afghanistan to surrender Osama bin Laden or face U.S. retaliation for the World Trade Centre attacks.

"We advise against travel to Pakistan until further notice unless there are compelling reasons to do so," the Foreign Office said in a travel advice bulletin.

"We advise all British nationals still in the north-west Frontier Province, Baluchistan and the Northern Areas to leave those areas immediately."

Britain advised its nationals to leave Afghanistan straight after Tuesday's devastating attacks on New York and Washington.

The United States and Britain have both pinpointed the Saudi-born dissident bin Laden, now based in Afghanistan, as the prime suspect, a charge he has repeatedly denied.

Pakistan, one of only three countries to recognise Afghanistan's Taliban leadership, has said it will offer the United States full cooperation but says any decision on specific assistance will be taken once Washington makes known precisely what action it has in mind.

It has sent a delegation to Afghanistan to press home the consequences of refusing to cooperate with Washington.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw thanked Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for the stand he has taken.

"Pakistan has decided -- as people are having to do all around the world -- that there are some really difficult choices to be made in this situation," he said.

-- a programmer (, September 17, 2001

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