Sunday, September 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US marines reach Pak to target Laden

Islamabad, September 15
Amidst reports of US marines landing in Pakistan for surveillance against Taliban and terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, the international airlines stopped using Pak-Afghan air corridor even as airports across the country were put on high alert.

“The Nation” daily today reported that a special plane carrying over 24 foreigners landed at the Chakala airbase in the wee hours yesterday.

Another daily ‘The News’ quoted an eyewitness as saying that he had seen a small contingent of US troops having already landed in Islamabad.

It said, according to unofficial reports a contingent of over 50 personnel from the Special Services Group of the US Marines ‘Green Seals’ have landed for conducting ‘target oriented’ operations against Bin Laden, prime suspect in the terrorist strikes in the USA.

However, it said there was no official confirmation on this from any quarter.

Diplomatic sources confirmed the arrival of two American aircraft but declined to give further details.

Heavy contingents of army were deployed to provide security at all airports across the country including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, media reports said.

Unconfirmed reports also said that Pakistan Air Force was on high alert to guard the country’s airspace.

The News newspaper said the international airlines using its 396 nautical miles air corridor over its airspace that provided the shortest air route to international flights travelling from far east to Europe, stopped using the corridor.

The airlines would now have to take a circuitous route, it said.

The airport remained closed from 3 am to 5 am on Friday morning — which according to the paper was the time of arrival of US troops.

The Green Seals are the latest version of super-trained, highly sophisticated, armed with hitech weaponry and aided by satellite-guided navigation commandos, who are given special and difficult assignments.

According to the paper, it was perceived that the elite Green Seals would change the mode of their action in case of missing Bin Laden. They would spread across Afghanistan, sniffing on Osama’s whereabouts. And in the event of detection, they would guide the US Navy aircraft in the possible airstrikes, the paper added.

It said there were speculation that the Green Seals would also conduct a quick survey of the region before an anticipated attack on a larger scale, if, at all, required.

The Green Seals have conducted joint exercises with the Pakistan SSGs on multiple occasions on the Pakistani soil since 1998, when the US first planned to hunt down Osama. These exercises were reportedly conducted in Cherat, Attock with a specific view the terrain was similar to the Afghanistan’s terrain, the paper said. PTI, UNI


We are at war: Bush

Camp David, September 15
President George W. Bush today declared “we’re at war” against those who staged devastating terror attacks on New York and Washington and vowed a sweeping and sustained military response.

Mr Bush used comments to reporters as he met national security aides and his weekly radio address to prepare Americans for their government’s campaign against those responsible for Tuesday’s attacks which left nearly 5,000 persons missing.

“We’re at war,” the president told the nation.

For the first time, Mr Bush specifically mentioned Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Islamic fundamentalist believed in hiding in Afghanistan, as a prime suspect in the attacks.

“If he thinks he can hide from the USA, and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken,” he said.

A day after visiting ground zero where the wrecked ruins of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York, shattered by two hijacked jetliners, entomb thousands, Mr Bush made clear a response was on the way.

“We will find those who did it, we will smoke them out of their holes, we will get them running, and we will bring them to justice,” Mr Bush told reporters before meeting his national security advisers at Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

In a piece of good news for Washington in its attempt to build international support for military action, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Pakistan had agreed to assist the USA “in whatever might be required” in dealing with neighboring Afghanistan.

Mr Powell, speaking to reporters at the national security meeting with Mr Bush and other advisers, said he wanted to “thank the President and people of Pakistan for the support that they have offered, and their willingness to assist us in whatever might be required in that part of the world.” Reuters


Material witness” detained

Washington, September 15
Federal investigators were today holding an unnamed man as a “material witness” in this week’s terrorist attacks, the first person to be detained in a massive probe initiated by the US authorities.

New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told reporters late yesterday that the unidentified man had been detained as a material witness in the World Trade Centre attack.

Meanwhile, the NBC television reported early today that two other men who had been detained and were on their way to New York for questioning, as the biggest-ever US criminal investigation continued to unfold. The pair was being transported to New York for interviews with FBI agents in connection with the terror attacks, the NBC reported.

BERLIN: Meanwhile the German authorities said today that they identified a third terrorism suspect who lived in Germany and seized new evidence in their investigation of links to the attacks in the USA.

Ziad Jarrah, who flew on a plane that crashed in a field 130 km from Pittsburgh, was reported missing by his girlfriend in the western industrial city of Bochum, the Federal Prosecutor’s office said in a statement. AFP, AP

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