Friday, December 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

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Cracks appear in Afghan power -sharing accord
Dostum, Gailani sore at being left out

Islamabad, December 6
Cracks appeared to have developed today in the historic power-sharing agreement, a day after it was signed, with two Northern Alliance leaders expressing unhappiness and Uzbek Warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum threatening to boycott the new interim government in Afghanistan.


Doctor Abdullah Abdullah, who will head the Foreign Ministry portfolio in the interim administration, told a news conference in Kabul the next crucial step would be implem - entation of the power-sharing agreement.
(28k, 56k)

NEWS ANALYSIS
Rabbani pays for hobnobbing with Pakistan
T
he selection of 44-year-old pro-Zahir Shah Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai as head of the 30-member provisional government of Afghanistan in Bonn on December 5 may have upset some apple-carts. Mr Karzai's selection by four Afghan groups under the auspices of the United Nations after eight days of deliberations came even as Iran and Pakistan were trying to forge a common stand on the future government in war-torn Afghanistan.

Rights groups sue USA on detainees’ names
Washington, December 6
American and civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to force the Bush administration to release information about people arrested or detained since September 11. Sixteen organisations across the USA joined the Arab-American and civil liberties groups to file the lawsuit, the first of its kind, in a federal court here seeking information about the detainees.

Pervez agrees to reform madarsas
Washington, December 6

With the USA prodding Pakistan to curb the spread of religious extremism, President Pervez Musharraf has finally acted and ordered reforms in several thousand “madarsas”, or seminaries, that dot the country.



Nobel laurates Dalai Lama (L) and Desmond Tutu (R) talk during a break in the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium at Oslo’s Holmenkollen Park Hotel on Thursday. The Peace Prize awarding ceremonies will take place on December 10, the date the Swedish benefactor Alfred Nobel died in 1896. This year’s prize will be received jointly on Monday by the United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Oslo City Hall. — Reuters 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Protests over Yassin’s house arrest
Palestinian police kill Hamas backer
Gaza City, December 6
Angry Palestinians fired from machine guns in the air, threw stones at the Palestinian police and fired on Jewish houses today in fierce protests against what may have been the first step of a crackdown by Mr Yasser Arafat on Islamic militants. 
Palestinian policemen clash with stone throwers during clashes near Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's house in Gaza Strip on Thursday. — Reuters photo


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Cracks appear in Afghan power-sharing accord
Dostum, Gailani sore at being left out

Islamabad, December 6
Cracks appeared to have developed today in the historic power-sharing agreement, a day after it was signed, with two Northern Alliance leaders expressing unhappiness and Uzbek Warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum threatening to boycott the new interim government in Afghanistan.

General Dostum
General Dostum

General Dostum, who has a history of switching sides but is one of the most powerful commanders in the Alliance, said his faction was not fairly represented in the 29-member interim government agreed upon in Germany yesterday.

“We announce the boycott of this government and will not go to Kabul until there is a proper government in place,” he was quoted as saying by international TV networks.

A Pashtun leader, Sayed Ahmed Gailani, who was represented by his son at the Bonn talks said the new interim administration, which would take charge on December 22 for six months, “is not fully balanced as many Afghans who had played a significant role in fighting the Soviets had not been considered”.

The distribution of portfolios in the interim administration was “almost the same” as under acting President Burhanuddin Rabbani, he told reporters here.

Sayed Ahmed Gailani
Sayed Ahmed Gailani

So far, he has not been named to any of the posts in the 29-member interim Cabinet which will rule Afghanistan for six months from December 22 under a UN-backed accord signed in Bonn yesterday.

Another Northern Alliance leader Abdul Khan Wardaq, said that he did not sign the agreement in Bonn following differences over the way the un-sponsored meeting was conducted.

“We have come to Bonn with a limited authority. Our leaders told us that we would participate in the talks but the important decisions would be made in Kabul,” he told BBC.

He said “there was no full freedom at the talks. We have some reservations about the deployment of un forces. We demanded that the Afghan people should be used for this job.”

Under the terms of Bonn accord the interim government headed by Pashtun leader Karzai for six months before an emergency Loya Jirga or grand assembly of elders, appoints an 18-month transitional government. It also provides a symbolic role to former King Mohammad Zahir Shah and a UN security force in Kabul.

General Dostum said he had demanded that his Uzbek Jombesh-i-Melli faction be given the Foreign Ministry in the post-Taliban administration. Instead, he said, it got the portfolios of agriculture, mining and industry while the rival alliance faction of Jamaat-i-Islami was given foreign affairs, defence and interior.

“This is a humiliation for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 56-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) on Thursday backed a UN-brokered power-sharing deal signed by rival Afghan groups and urged member states to help the new government.

OIC Secretary-General Abdelouahed Belkeziz told a news conference after two days of talks with the Pakistani authorities that his group supported the deal signed on Wednesday in Bonn.

“I would like to appeal to all (OIC) member countries to come forward to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and provide humanitarian assistance,” said Mr Belkeziz, a Moroccan. Mr Belkeziz praised Pakistan for joining the international coalition against terrorism. PTI, AFP, Reuters
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NEWS ANALYSIS
Rabbani pays for hobnobbing with Pakistan
Samuel Baid

The selection of 44-year-old pro-Zahir Shah Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai as head of the 30-member provisional government of Afghanistan in Bonn on December 5 may have upset some apple-carts. Mr Karzai's selection by four Afghan groups under the auspices of the United Nations after eight days of deliberations came even as Iran and Pakistan were trying to forge a common stand on the future government in war-torn Afghanistan. These two countries have been directly hit by the war and the instablity in Afghanistan in the past about 22 years. More so Pakistan, whose Afghan policy since the days of Gen-Zia-ul-Haq has been largely responsible for what is happening in Afghanistan today.

Mr Karzai's selection went against Iran's choice of Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani, whom it still considers the lawful President of Afghanistan. Mr Rabbani was ousted by the Taliban in September, 1996, but many countries, including India, Russia and Iran, besides the UN continued to recognise his government and initially they seemed to favour its restoration when the US bombing had made it clear that the days of the Taliban were numbered.

But when all seemed bright for Mr Rabbani, he went to Dubai to meet a delegation of Pakistani security officers and ISI men. This meeting was reportedly arranged by Iran. But what transpired at this meeting was never made public. Soon Iran sent its Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi to Pakistan where he announced that the differences between the two countries over the latter's support to the Taliban had ended with Islamabad's withdrawal of its backing. Pakistan withdrew its recognition on November 22.

Mr Rabbani met the Pakistani delegation despite intense hatred for it among the Northern Alliance partners. The Alliance accused Pakistan of having imposed the Taliban on Afghanistan. Independent reports from those areas of Afghanistan vacated by the Taliban showed that there was bitter hatred for Pakistan among the common people. Mr Rabbani apparently ignored these signals when he went to Dubai to meet the Pakistani delegation. To make things worse for Mr Rabbani the Pakistani government, leaders began claiming that they had always maintained secret contacts with him.

Pakistan's overtures to Mr Rabbani, and through him to the Northern Alliance, should be seen in the context of Islamabad's eagerness to have a friendly government in Afghanistan. By a friendly government it means an administration that stalls India's influence in Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

In his September 19 address to the nation Gen Pervez Musharraf very naively said since India had no borders with Afghanistan it had no business with that country. Military experts say it provides strategic depth to Pakistan, and its soil can be used for training terrorists to operate in Kashmir. General Musharraf's address gives a clear impression that Pakistan was not expecting the Taliban regime to go once the US-led coalition's operations against terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network started. In this address the General criticised India for what he said planning to bring anti-Pakistan Northern Alliance back into power in Afghanistan. It was clearly to stall the return of the Alliance that it supported the US choice of former Afghan King Zahir Shah despite its earlier opposition to him. Zahir Shah, a Pashtun, never accepted the Durand Line that divides it with Pakistan and encouraged the supporters of greater Pakhtunistan in Pakistan.

But the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul and Kunduz one by one to the Northern Alliance became the catalyst for three changes in Pakistan's diplomacy. One, its choice of Zahir Shah began weakening. Two, it ultimately decided to order the closure of the Taliban embassy in Islamabad. Three, it started building bridges with the Northern Alliance. This is how the meeting with Mr Rabbani came off.

The selection of Hamid Karzai as head of the Afghan interim government may fuel criticism of the Musharraf regime's policy. The military government had apparently taken things for granted, having joined the US-led coalition against terrorism. It failed to realise its secondary position in the coalition when the USA allowed the Northern Alliance to take control of Kabul in the middle of November despite President George Bush's assurance to General Musharraf to the contrary.
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Rights groups sue USA on detainees’ names
Vasantha Arora

Washington, December 6
American and civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to force the Bush administration to release information about people arrested or detained since September 11.

Sixteen organisations across the USA joined the Arab-American and civil liberties groups to file the lawsuit, the first of its kind, in a federal court here seeking information about the detainees.

A Justice Department official said this week that more than 600 detainees remain in custody, most of them accused of immigration violations. But government officials have repeatedly refused requests for information on the detainees from civil liberties groups like the ACLU. Its legal director Steven Shapiro condemned the detentions, saying that: “since September 11, hundreds of people have been arrested, detained and virtually disappeared from public sight. That may be the way other countries operate. It is not the way this country functions.

Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said: “We do know that almost all of those who have been detained are Arabs or Muslims. Attorney-General John Ashcroft has said he will not release the names of the detainees as he does not want Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network to know who is in custody. IANS
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Pervez agrees to reform madarsas

Washington, December 6
With the USA prodding Pakistan to curb the spread of religious extremism, President Pervez Musharraf has finally acted and ordered reforms in several thousand “madarsas”, or seminaries, that dot the country.

For the first time, the schools will be required to teach disciplines other than Koranic studies, the Washington Times said.

There are about one million boys and male teenagers in approximately 15,000 madarsas. General Musharraf also instructed his Cabinet to prepare legislation that would ban religious parties that have military sections.IANS
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Protests over Yassin’s house arrest
Palestinian police kill Hamas backer

Gaza City, December 6
Angry Palestinians fired from machine guns in the air, threw stones at the Palestinian police and fired on Jewish houses today in fierce protests against what may have been the first step of a crackdown by Mr Yasser Arafat on Islamic militants.

A Palestinian died later as clashes between Palestinian police and supporters of the militant Hamas movement entered their second day.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher (L) shakes hands with Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Thursday. Maher will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Thursday to try to arrange a truce after a surge in 14 months of violence. — Reuters photo

Hamas supporter Mohammed Selmi (21) died of wounds sustained late on Wednesday, relatives and hospital sources said.

More than 600 supporters of Hamas — which claimed responsibility for a deadly wave of suicide bombings in Israel last weekend — gathered near the home of the group’s founder and spiritual leader after the Palestinian police put him under house arrest.

Protesters carrying guns and throwing rocks demanded the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who makes frequent statements on radio and TV supportings Hamas attacks but claims he does not plan them. Some of the demonstrators set a car on fire and others fired from their automatic weapons in the air.

The intense resistance was a hint of the trouble Mr Arafat was likely to encounter if he bends to US and Israeli demands to sharpen his crackdown on the increasingly popular militants responsible for a wave of terror attacks on Israel.

The Palestinian security officials said Yassin, a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair, would be allowed no visitors except for relatives, and his telephones would be cut off. It was Mr Arafat’s boldest move yet against Hamas.

Selmi had been taking part in protests after Sheikh Yassin was placed under house arrest as part of a crackdown on militants by President Arafat. The police denied they had shot Selmi.

Washington: The USA Canada have frozen the assets of a foundation suspected of helping the radical Palestinian group Hamas recruit and train suicide bombers to strike at Israel. AFP, AP
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