Friday, September 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Afghans apprehend US revenge raids

Kabul, September 13
Frightened Afghans today braced for possible US retaliation for terror attacks on New York and Washington as Arab residents fled the capital or began digging trenches on the outskirts of the city.

With US investigators increasingly convinced that Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, many Afghans fear it is just a matter of time before they are made to pay for the ruling Taliban giving him sanctuary.

Neighbouring Pakistan — one of only three countries to recognise the Taliban — offered "full cooperation" to Washington as it attempts to track down the perpetrators.

Significantly, Pakistan’s then government refused Permission to the USA to overfly its airspace in 1998 as Washington sought revenge for deadly bomb attacks on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania for which Bin Laden was also blamed.

While it was not immediately clear how many Arab nationals lived in Afghanistan, residents said almost all had left central Kabul. Reuters


Western diplomats leave Kabul

Family members of detained aid workers of Shelter Now International and diplomats head to a plane at Kabul airport to leave for Pakistan on Thursday. The United Nations and several foreign aid organisations completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan on Thursday, fearing a US military attack on targets associated with alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. — AP/PTI

A convoy of UN vehicles carrying diplomats, journalists and NGOs leave the United Nations compound en route to the airport in Kabul on Thursday. A total of three UN aircraft came to Kabul on Thursday to withdraw remaining international aid workers and journalists from Kabul. — Reuters photo

Kabul, September 13
Arab nationals in Kabul were reported to have evacuated the Afghan capital today as other residents began digging trenches in anticipation of possible US retaliation for Tuesday’s terror attacks.

While it was not immediately clear how many Arab nationals live in Afghanistan, residents said almost all had left the capital.

Other residents said they had seen people digging trenches on the outskirts of the city and that other fortifications were being made.

The hardline Islamic Taliban movement which controls almost all of Afghanistan has given sanctuary to Saudi millionaire dissident Osama bin Laden, who US Officials say has his imprint all over the deadly terror attacks on New York and Washington in which thousands of people are believed to have been killed.

Washington has vowed to retaliate against the culprits and those who harbour them.

Meanwhile, three Western diplomats also left Afghanistan today morning amid an exodus of foreign aid workers concerned over the possible US retaliation.

A United Nations source said the American, Australian and German envoys returned to their embassies in Pakistan along with the relatives of eight foreign aid workers on trial here for allegedly preaching Christianity.

The Pakistan-based diplomats had been trying to arrange legal defences for the aid workers, who may be facing the death sentence. Reuters, AFP

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