Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

W O R L D

Al-Qaida shifts 20 missiles to Tora Bora
2 Americans die in mistaken raid

Islamabad, December 5
Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network has shifted 20 Russian-made Oragan missiles to the Tora Bora mountain base in Afghanistan to use them against the US-led coalition forces in the event of an attack on the Taliban and their supporters.

In Videos: Northern Alliance commander says at least 12 members of al Qaida outfit have been killed, but could not confirm reports that Ayman Zawahri, a top official of al Qaida was among those killed. (28k, 56k)

Taliban forces staged a show of force along the Afghan-Pakistan border, with heavily armed fighters patrolling the frontier intensively. (28k, 56k)

Hamid KarzaiKarzai — a blend of modernity & tradition
Bonn (Germany), December 5
Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun tribal chief chosen to head the post-Taliban administration in Afghanistan, is unusually qualified to shoulder the huge task of trying to lead his war-torn country back to normal life.

Taliban name new commander for Kandahar
Kandahar, December 5
Mullah Allahdad, former commander of Afghanistan’s northern province of Kunduz, has been appointed new Taliban commander of Kandahar, the last stronghold of the Afghan militia in the country.


EARLIER STORIES
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

 

USA, Pak plan joint exercises
Islamabad, December 5
In the first open defence collaboration of sorts since the USA lifted sanctions against Pakistan two months ago, USA and Pakistani navies would hold joint exercises in the coming weeks.
12 die on polling day in Lanka
Checkposts block 85,000 Tamil voters

Colombo, December 5
Apprehending trouble from the LTTE cadres, Sri Lankan army prevented about 85,000 Tamil voters living in the LTTE-held areas from reaching polling booths in today’s parliamentary elections, marred by sporadic incidents of violence claiming 9 lives and allegations of booth capturing.
Women wait in a queue to cast their votes for the Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections in Attanagalle, a town on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. — AP/PTI photo
 


A Pakistani fisherman (L) meets his family in Karachi harbour on Wednesday after being released by Indian authorities. India released 202 Pakistani fishermen who were caught while fishing in Indian waters.
— Reuters

BNP move for PM-Khaleda meeting
Dhaka, December 5
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party government of Ms Khaleda Zia has started a diplomatic move for a meeting with the Prime Ministers of India in the sideline of the SAARC summit in Kathmandu scheduled to be held in January, 2002. This will be the first meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Ms Zia since she came to  power on  October 10.

Britain to target hawala traders
London, December 5
The new powers acquired by the UK Government to target money laundering are set to lead to a crackdown on South Asian operators.
“South Asia will be a big area for us to focus on,” Mr Vincent Harvey, Director of the National Crime Intelligence Service in UK, told IANS.

Suicide bombing in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, December 5
Smarting under two days of Israeli strikes on Palestinian targets, a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber today blew himself up outside a five-star hotel in downtown Jerusalem injuring five persons. The bomb, packed with nails and shrapnels, went off on the busy street near David Citadel Hotel, where two Israeli ministers were staying. No group has taken responsibility for the blast.

Israeli policemen inspect the remains after a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

14 die after falling into well
Dunyapur (Pakistan), December 5
At least 14 children and a woman are killed when a makeshift wooden stage built on a sewerage well collapsed in a remote village of eastern Punjab province, the police said.
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Al-Qaida shifts 20 missiles to Tora Bora
2 Americans die in mistaken raid

Islamabad, December 5
Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network has shifted 20 Russian-made Oragan missiles to the Tora Bora mountain base in Afghanistan to use them against the US-led coalition forces in the event of an attack on the Taliban and their supporters.

The Frontier Post quoting well-placed sources in the eastern council at Jalalabad said today members of the Al-Qaida manning the Tora Bara mountain base have shifted the missiles and a huge quantity of heavy weapons such as Russian made BM 11, BM 16 and BM 41 from their Jalalabad military base to the Tora Bora valley.

A local commander, Sohrab Khan, said his forces controlled half of the mountaineous region around Tora Bora and fighting with the Al-Qaida forces was continuing.

Two US troops were killed and 20 injured today along with an unknown number of anti-Taliban forces in a mistaken B-52 bombing raid north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, the US Central Command said.

Afghan tribesmen have advanced on suspected mountain lairs of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban’s last stronghold of Kandahar.

Anti-Taliban forces moved unopposed towards Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, where Bin Laden is reputed to have fortified subterranean hideouts.

“US bombing continues,” anti-Taliban commander Hazrat Ali told Reuters by satellite phone from Jalalabad in the east. “We have taken some areas which they (Bin Laden’s men) left around Tora Bora. They pulled out from these areas without a fight.”

Ali said yesterday US air strikes had killed 12 members of Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network in the previous two days in or around Tora Bora, about 55 km south of Jalalabad.

Nangarhar military commander Haji Mohammad Zaman said, however, that 18 persons had been killed in the attack, including Bin Laden’s financial manager.

Zaman said Ayman al-Zawahri, number two man in Al-Qaida was wounded and possibly killed by the US bombs. But NBC television news quoted US officials as saying that while they had no word on Zawahri falling victim to us bombs, they believed his wife, a son and three daughters had been killed.

Ali said his forces had launched a joint operation with Zaman’s troops around Tora Bora, located in the jagged snow-capped White Mountains, about 50 km south of here.

A stand-off continued around Kandahar, the southern citadel of the ousted Taliban regime which pushed back a bid by opposition forces to advance to the local airport.

“We pulled our boys out on the advice of the Americans as they were bombing Taliban who were so close to us,” said a source close to former Kandahar Governor Gul Agha, whose troops were battling the Islamic militia.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition against terrorism Kenton Keith, described the situation around Kandahar as extremely unpredictable and confused.

US Marines, now backed by a sizable contingent of Australians, continued their buildup at a desert airstrip south-west of Kandahar, with about 10 C-130 transport planes bringing in supplies and equipment each night. UNI, Reuters, AFP
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Karzai — a blend of modernity & tradition

Bonn (Germany), December 5
Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun tribal chief chosen to head the post-Taliban administration in Afghanistan, is unusually qualified to shoulder the huge task of trying to lead his war-torn country back to normal life.

A mix of traditional ties and modern experience meant he won the support of delegates at the UN-sponsored talks in Bonn even though he was absent, away with his tribesmen preparing for a final assault on Taliban-held Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

Karzai’s traditional credentials could not be better. Tall, balding with a trim salt-and-pepper beard, he is chief of the large Popalzai tribal group around Kandahar and scion of a royalist family with a tradition of public service.

During the 1980s Soviet war, he helped fund and arm fighters from his tribe, which lives in southern Afghanistan where Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is believed to be holed up.

Already a tribal elder at the age of 46, he also has a string of very modern skills, including fluent English and an easy good-humoured presence on camera.

Karzai was deputy foreign minister from 1992 to 1994 after the Mujahideen (holy warriors) defeated the communists. He had spent much of the 1980s in the USA — where his family ran Afghan restaurants in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Baltimore — and enjoys strong western support.

One of the main hurdles for the anti-Taliban camp was the lack of leaders among the Pashtuns, the dominant ethnic group which often saw the Taliban as defenders of Pashtun interests against the northern minorities.

Karzai stepped in to fill that void on October 8, one day after the US bombing campaign began, when he entered southern Afghanistan to mobilise Pashtun tribes against the Taliban.

Karzai shares the view of the Alliance triumvirate — Interior Minister Yunis Qahuni, Defence Minister Mohammad Fahim and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah — that impoverished Afghanistan has to replace its traditional warlord approach with a modern parliamentary democracy.

When the Taliban started up in Kandahar in 1994, Karzai knew many of their leaders from the Soviet war and supported their drive to end chaos and lawlessness there.

But within a few months, he began to notice strange faces at the meetings he attended, silent men he called “the hidden hand of the Pakistani intelligence”. He soon split with the movement and denounced it as manipulated by Pakistan and Arab extremists.

Karzai and his father, former senator Abdul Ahad Karzai, began campaigning against the Taliban in 1997 from their exile base in Quetta.

Another of Karzai’s traditionalist qualifications is his love for the national sport, “buzkashi”. Reuters
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Taliban name new commander for Kandahar

Kandahar, December 5
Mullah Allahdad, former commander of Afghanistan’s northern province of Kunduz, has been appointed new Taliban commander of Kandahar, the last stronghold of the Afghan militia in the country.

SADA news agency quoted Mullah Roziuddin, secretary of the Taliban foreign ministry, as saying that “Mullah Allahdad has been appointed new commander of Kandahar and he is leading the Taliban forces near the airport where Gul Agha’s forces were made to run after leaving their comrades’ bodies.” Agha was governor of Kandahar before the Taliban took over the city in 1994.

Allahdad’s appointment has triggered rumours that Mullah Akhtar Usmani, corps commander of Kandahar and considered to be the second man in the Taliban hierarchy after their supreme commander Mullah Omar, is no more.

Usmani was said to be among those injured on Sunday at an Iftar party hosted by Kandahar governor Mullah Ameer Hassan Rehmani in Arghandab town near the city.

Although the Taliban has denied the death, reports suggest Rehmani, corps commander Shireen Khan of Farah province and several others were killed and injured when US jets bombed the venue. IANS
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USA, Pak plan joint exercises

Islamabad, December 5
In the first open defence collaboration of sorts since the USA lifted sanctions against Pakistan two months ago, USA and Pakistani navies would hold joint exercises in the coming weeks.

Disclosing this Pakistan Naval Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza said the exercises involving the warships of both the countries would be held in the next eight to ten weeks.

The invitation for joint exercises has been extended by the USA and Pakistan navy has accepted it. PTI
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Ears, noses of shaven Afghans cut off

Islamabad, December 5
Gumen waylaid six men in eastern Afghanistan and cut off their noses and ears, apparently for having shaved off their beards, an Afghan news service said today.

The bandits stopped and searched a bus yesterday at Tangi Abresham on the highway from Kabul to the eastern city of Jalalabad and ordered out all men who had shaved their beards, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said. Reuters
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12 die on polling day in Lanka
Checkposts block 85,000 Tamil voters

Colombo, December 5
Apprehending trouble from the LTTE cadres, Sri Lankan army prevented about 85,000 Tamil voters living in the LTTE-held areas from reaching polling booths in today’s parliamentary elections, marred by sporadic incidents of violence claiming 9 lives and allegations of booth capturing.

The army took the step following intelligence reports that the LTTE may disrupt polling by entering government-controlled areas under the guise of voters and set up checkpoints and closed land routes in the north and the east but the move drew flak from election observers and an alliance of Tamil parties.

At least 50,000 eligible voters could not make it to polling stations set up for them in government territory, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), the leading constituent of the four-party Tamil alliance, said.

The European Union’s election observation mission expressed serious concern over the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters.

The snap poll for the 225-member parliament was held following dissolution of the House on October 10 by President Chandrika Kumaratunga after her People’s Alliance lost slender majority.

The army was deployed to assist the police in maintaining order in Kandy district in central Sri Lanka after gunfire and explosions near polling stations, police officials said.

Gunmen also stormed a polling booth at Galagedara and set fire to two ballot boxes.

According to reports reaching here, seven persons were killed overnight while two died in political violence during voting bringing the number of election related deaths to over 50 since campaign began on October 21.

Meanwhile, a former guerrilla chief whose return from exile took Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election campaign by storm left the island for Britain today hours after voting began.

Somavansa Amerasinghe, leader of the radical Marxist People’s Liberation Front (JVP), caused an uproar when he appeared on local television urging supporters to prepare for “an armed struggle”.

Amerasinghe later said his television remarks were misquoted, but controversy continued to hound the JVP, which led two revolts in 1971 and 1987, killing more than 80,000 persons. PTI, Reuters
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BNP move for PM-Khaleda meeting
Tribune News Service

Dhaka, December 5
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) government of Ms Khaleda Zia has started a diplomatic move for a meeting with the Prime Ministers of India in the sideline of the SAARC summit in Kathmandu scheduled to be held in January, 2002. This will be the first meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Ms Zia since she came to power on October 10.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister has sent Finance Minister M.Saifur Rahman with the dual purpose of defending the government position on atrocities on the minority Hindu families alleged to have been launched by her party cadres after the October 1 election victory and to negotiate for a meeting between the two Prime Ministers. The new Foreign Minister, industrialist M. Morshed Khan, was side-tracked in this regard to avoid publicity.

Immediately after the assumption of power by the BNP, Security Adviser and Principal Secretary to the Indian Prime Minister Brajesh Mishra during his visit to Dhaka met Ms Zia. He discussed SAARC summit and other bilateral issues. During his meeting with the Foreign Minister the question of gas export to India also came up.

Mr Rahman,who went unannounced, met Mr Vajpayee on Tuesday. During his meeting he defended the BNP government and blamed that the Awami League “contrived’ atrocities on Hindus to malign the ruling coalition. This remark surprised all quarters in Bangladesh because he added that an inquiry committee was being constituted to investigate into the reported incidents. The opposition political parties questioned the remark — if it was an act of contrivance by the Awami League then why the incidents were being investigated after one month of protests.

Mr. Rahman has communicated the willingness of Ms Zia to the Indian Prime Minister for a meeting in Kathmandu.

Sources in the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted that the question of gas export to India was likely to be raised by Mr Vajpayee at the meeting if it takes place. Mr Rahman was sent to India because he openly expressed his views in favour of export of gas to India. Recently, the Foreign Minister during a meet the Press remarked that he did not find any harm in allowing transit facilities to India for transporting goods through Bangladesh. This is a departure from the stand of his party .The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhary has confirmed that the Bangladesh Prime Minister will attend the SAARC summit.
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Britain to target hawala traders
Sanjay Suri

London, December 5
The new powers acquired by the UK Government to target money laundering are set to lead to a crackdown on South Asian operators.

“South Asia will be a big area for us to focus on,” Mr Vincent Harvey, Director of the National Crime Intelligence Service in UK, told IANS.

The authorities, he said, “Will be on the lookout for hawala (money laundering) transactions from South Asia.” Hawala has gained enoughnotoriety to have become a name for what Mr Harvey called “all forms of alternative banking.”

The Financial Services Authority (FSA), which will now be the sole prosecution agency for money laundering, will also turn its attention to solicitors who engage in it, he said. Some solicitors in London are suspected to be working as agents for money laundering operations.

“A solicitor has been arrested on charges of money laundering and the FSA will not hesitate to investigate other suspected transactions,” he added.

The new powers given to UK’s financial regulators came into effect on December 1.

Under the new powers the FSA will take over regulatory responsibility for everything from investment banks to building societies.

It is setting up teams to monitor banks and financial institutes. The key position in the new system will be that of a money laundering reporting officer for each organisation.

Public Institutions that do not comply can be named and face prosecution. The FSA would have the right to “withdraw permission for some kinds of financial activity” to these institutions.

Mr Harvey said a new computer-aided system had been developed to detect hawala transactions. UK is well ahead in this technology.”

“The system will be used to detect transactions “unusual for the person’s profile.” The technology and training in such detection is being offered to regulators in other countries, he added. IANS
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Suicide bombing in Jerusalem


Pilgrims wave to Pope John Paul II as he arrives in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican for his weekly general audience on Wednesday. The Pope said on Wednesday that Israelis and Palestinians were locked in a useless spiral of death and urged the international community to put greater effort into bringing peace to the region. — Reuters photo

Jerusalem, December 5
Smarting under two days of Israeli strikes on Palestinian targets, a suspected Palestinian suicide bomber today blew himself up outside a five-star hotel in downtown Jerusalem injuring five persons.

The bomb, packed with nails and shrapnels, went off on the busy street near David Citadel Hotel, where two Israeli ministers were staying.

No group has taken responsibility for the blast.

The bomb, latest in the round of suicide attacks that have left 25 persons dead, came as Islamic militant groups Hamas and the Islamic Jehad vowed to push for the continuation of the “intifada” (uprising). PTI
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14 die after falling into well

Dunyapur (Pakistan), December 5
At least 14 children and a woman are killed when a makeshift wooden stage built on a sewerage well collapsed in a remote village of eastern Punjab province, the police said.

The stage was built by a local soap factory, Azadi Soap, to promote its products on the outskirts of eastern Dunyapur city in Punjab province.

At least 30 persons, mostly children, fell into 15 to 18-metre-deep well used to dump sewerage water, said Sahbzada Shahzad Sultan, Superintendent of Police. AP
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