Friday, September 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

USA mounts pressure on Pak
FBI identifies 50 suspects * Rescue work hampered
Dharam Shourie

New York, September 13
As investigators identified 50 people believed to be involved in Tuesday’s terrorist strikes, USA mounted pressure on Pakistan to compel its ally Taliban in Afghanistan to hand over Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, widely suspected to be behind the attacks that left thousands killed.

Rescue operations to pull out survivors and bodies from the debris of the World Trade Center smashed by two hijacked aircraft were hampered after the lower seven floors of the 110 storey skyscraper also collapsed late last night.

So far, 82 bodies have been recovered and five survivors rescued, according to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

With Laden emerging as the prime suspect, Washington stepped up pressure on Pakistan with its Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin meeting President Pervez Musharraf within hours of Secretary of State Colin Powell declaring USA was “looking for and expecting their (Islamabad) fullest cooperation and their help” in tracking down the perpetrators.

Pakistan Ambassador to Washington Maleeha Lodhi was also summoned by the Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to discuss the development as the USA secured the support of NATO and other allies for any action against the suspects.

Musharraf discussed the emerging situation with key aides last night following which an official statement was issued in Islamabad in which he assured President George Bush of his “unstinted cooperation” in the fight against terrorism.

“We regard terrorism as an evil that threatens the world community,” he said in the statement adding “all countries must join hands in this common cause.”

Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakel was quoted by AFP as saying that reports linking Laden to the terrorist attacks lack “credibility.”

The Pakistan backed Taliban regime last night pleaded with the USA not to attack Afghanistan and its leaders.

CNN quoting FBI officials said 12 to 24 individuals could have been involved in the hijacking of the four aircraft used in the strikes at WTC and Pentagon. One of the hijacked plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. The hijackers commandeered the aircraft with knives and threat of bombs.

They said as many as 50 others helped to execute the attacks.

Authorities believed that 27 suspected terrorists from West Asia received various kinds of pilot training. With risk of further attacks “significantly reduced”, the US military downgraded its alert status.

However, a full reopening of civil air space has been indefinitely delayed because of security fears raised by intelligence agencies, Transport Secretary Norman Mineta said.

The State Department has warned Americans world-wide to remain vigilant and keep a low profile.

A senior US Official said the USA wanted to test the commitment of Pakistan and other countries to a worldwide coalition against “terrorism.”

“We expect everybody to take sides. It’s time for people to say what they are... We do think it is time for a coalition of countries to work against terrorism. We expect them (the Pakistanis) and others to help us,” he added.

The official, who asked not to be named, said Washington was “certainly hopeful” that the cooperation could bear fruit. “We have had cooperation with Pakistan in the past on terrorism issues,” he said.

The FBI discovered credit card receipts showing that some of the hijackers paid for flight training in the USA, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Times said the US authorities believe 27 suspected terrorists in all received various kinds of pilot training. PTI, AFP


USA recalls envoy to Pak

Islamabad, September 13
The US recalled its ambassador, Windy Chamberlain, on Wednesday as a tense Pakistan mulled retaliation by Washington to avenge Tuesday’s bloody terrorist strikes. Online news agency said US President George W. Bush had issued special instructions asking Chamberlain and its diplomatic staff here to return home within 48 hours. IANSBack


Pak, S. Arabia vow full support

Major-General Rashid Qureshi
Pakistani Presidential spokesman Major-General Rashid Qureshi speaks to reporters after a news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday. Qureshi said no specific demand had yet been made by the USA, where investigators have pointed fingers at Saudi-born Osama bin Laden for a possible role in Tuesday's deadly terror attacks. 

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad on Thursday. The Taliban movement said Saudi-born Osama bin Laden had told them he had no role in Tuesday's terror attacks in the USA. — Reuters photos

Islamabad, September 13
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today assured US President George W. Bush of Pakistan’s “unstinted cooperation” in the fight against terrorism.

“We regard terrorism as an evil that threatens the world community,” General Musharraf said in a statement following urgent talks with his key aides following Tuesday’s kamikaze bombings in the USA.

General Musharraf chaired the three-hour meeting at his official residence in the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi. The talks ended well after midnight yesterday.

General Musharraf reiterated that concerted international efforts were needed to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. “All countries must join hands in this common cause,” he said.

“I wish to assure President Bush and the US Government of our unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” he said, adding that Pakistan strongly condemned the acts of terrorism.

Later, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Ms Wendy Chamberlin, met President Musharraf to seek Islamabad’s cooperation for any action Washington may consider necessary against terrorists who carried out attacks in New York and Washington.

Though US officials refused to disclose what transpired at the meeting, they said she discussed the broad outline of issues laid out by US Secretary of State Colin Powell last night.

Ms Powell, while evading a direct reply on a question whether all clues led to Osama bin Laden as the man behind the attacks, said: “It would be useful to point out to the Pakistani leadership at every level that we are looking for an expecting their fullest cooperation and their help and support as we conduct this investigation.”

Ms Chamberlin, who took over as Ambassador recently, called on General Musharraf ostensibly to present her credentials.

Unconfirmed reports said that she handed over a message from President George W. Bush to General Musharraf. Pakistan ambassador to the USA, Maleeha Lodhi, had met US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage yesterday.

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has also offered its full cooperation to the USA to fight terrorism, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday.

It quoted Saudi Ambassador to the USA, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, as telling journalists in Washington that he had extended the offer during contacts with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

“He said he extended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s full cooperation to fight terrorism,” SPA reported. AFP, Reuters, PTIBack


Bin Laden prime suspect: Powell

Washington, September 13
US Secretary of State Colin Powell today identified Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden as a prime suspect in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and said he would press Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for information on his operations.

Powell, at a news conference, became the first senior Bush administration official to say for the record what many have been saying privately: that Bin Laden is suspected of engineering the attacks.

Powell said he was telephoning Musharraf to seek “a specific list of things that, we think, would be useful for them to work on with us”.

Powell described Pakistan as a friend of the USA but also admitted that the relationship had its “ups and downs”. AFPBack

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