European reaction to the US and British attacks on Afghanistan has so far been positive. France, Germany, Italy and Russia have all stated their support for the alliance.

European Commission President Romano Prodi declared: "At this difficult, solemn and dramatic moment, all Europe stands steadfast with the United States and its coalition allies to pursue the fight against terrorism".

Mr Prodi added: "We are united, and will remain united, in this struggle against those who attack the very foundations of civilisation. Our fight is not against religions or peoples".

The EU foreign policy chief said that he believes today's attacks on Afghanistan have been an early success. Javier Solana added: "I cannot elaborate about the future. We will maintain contact with our American friends in the coming hours. I think we are in a legitimate action to defeat terrorism in all its manifestations".

In France, President Jacques Chirac has said that he will make French troops available to the alliance. Speaking in a televised address, President Chirac said that France had opened its airspace to the US military aircraft and French ships are providing logistical support to US naval forces in the Indian Ocean. However, the French President was adamant that this was as far as French participation would go.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi put his country on a state of alert following the strikes. However, he said that he supported the attack. "Italy is on the side of the United States and of all those who are committed to the fight against terrorism," he said. He also pledged material help and troops if needed.

The German government has said that it supports "without reservation" the US-led attacks on "terrorist targets in Afghanistan". German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that Germany will contribute to the action if they are asked and in line with their abilities.

Russia has also pledged its support for the attacks saying that international terrorism should face justice. A foreign ministry statement read on television said that the Taliban regime had become an "international centre of terrorism and extremism". The statement concluded, "It is time for decisive action with this evil".

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in London. A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Service said that additional security is being introduced to counter any terrorist attack.

London is considered to be a potential terrorist target because of Britain's unqualified support for the United States. Over 1,000 extra officer have been put on the capital's streets since the 11 September attacks on the United States.

Canada has also pledged military support to the alliance. Prime Minister Jean Chretien said that Canada would help fight the threat of terrorism "every step of the way".

Japan too has expressed support for the strikes. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said: "Japan strongly supports this US and British action".

Turkey has also given its full support to the air strikes. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said: "Turkey supports the United States as a responsible ally and friend in its struggle against terrorism".

However, small pockets of Europeans have held protests against the strikes. Hundreds of Italians held peace demonstrations in the country's main cities this evening. Speaking about the US air strikes on Afghanistan Green Party MP Paolo Cento said: "It's an act of war which does not help to resolve the problems of terrorism but which hits populations".

More than 100 people gathered outside Downing Street in London this evening in an anti-war protest. Protesters chanted anti-war slogans through a megaphone in front of police.