Tuesday, September 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak recalls diplomatic staff from Kabul
Taliban take over UN office in Kandahar * Bush freezes Laden assets

Islamabad, September 24
As the USA stood poised to attack Afghanistan, Pakistan pulled out its diplomatic staff from Kabul citing “abnormal situation” and a high-level American team today held talks here to firm up Islamabad’s offer of cooperation for a possible military reprisal against Osama bin Laden and his network.

In another related development, the defiant Taliban took over UN office in the southern city of Kandahar and placed a communication blackout on other UN operations.

With the USA ready to unleash its mass military forces against terrorist bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan said it had pulled out all its staff from its diplomatic missions in Kabul and other cities in the country “in view of the abnormal situation.”

“They were withdrawn over the weekend. They are all in Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Riaz Khan said.

A high-level US team comprising officials from the State Department and the Pentagon, which arrived here late yesterday, was assessing the situation in Quetta and Peshawar bordering Afghanistan ahead of meeting with Pakistan military and government officials, CNN quoting diplomatic sources reported.

The meetings are expected to take place throughout the week under extreme secrecy, it said adding that the delegation is likely to inspect military facilities in Pakistan and evaluate whether they can be used for any potential US military action.

A UN spokesperson in Islamabad was quoted by AFP as saying that the Taliban militia had taken over UN office in Kandahar and placed a communication blackout on other UN operations.

“The local (Taliban) authorities have taken over UN offices in Kandahar as well as some NGO offices,” including two working under the umbrella of the UN Mine Action Programme, she said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said Islamabad realised its obligations to help eliminate terrorism in all its forms and would prove it through its actions.

He told labour leaders from across the country here that Pakistan was with the world community in its fight against terrorism and emphasised this commitment was in line with the teachings of Islam.

In another development, a day after President George W. Bush lifted the sanctions imposed against Islamabad and New Delhi following 1998 nuclear tests, USA and Pakistan today inked an agreement here rescheduling a 379 million dollar-debt owed by Islamabad to Washington.

The agreement, signed by US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin and top Pakistan Finance Ministry official Nawid Ahsan, is in line with the general agreement on debt rescheduling for Pakistan reached by Paris Club members in January this year, officials here said.

WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush on Monday moved to choke off Islamic militant Osama bin Laden’s financial support, freezing his US assets and threatening to freeze those of foreign banks that did not do likewise.

Mr Bush acknowledged that Bin Laden’s assets within the USA were small, making banks in other countries the prime targets of his efforts to choke off the financial lifeline to organisations regarded by Washington as terrorist groups.

“If you do business with terrorists, if you support or sponsor them, you will not do business with the USA” he said in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden. President Bush said he had frozen the assets of Bin Laden — suspected of masterminding the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington — as well as the assets of Bin Laden’s al Qaeda network and several related organisations.

The order signed last night also prohibits transactions with other groups linked to the network and outlawed donations to non-profit organisations suspected of funnelling money to it.

“We will starve the terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, root them out of their safe hiding places and bring them to justice,” he said.

“We’re putting banks and financial institutions around the world on notice, we will work with their governments and ask them to freeze or block terrorist ability to access funds in foreign accounts,” Mr Bush said.

“If they fail to help us by sharing information or freezing accounts, the Department of the Treasury now has the authority to freeze their banks’ assets and transactions in the USA,” President Bush said. PTI, Reuters


Harkat on list

Pakistan-based militant outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahideen is among the 27 individuals and groups linked to terrorism whose assests were frozen by President George Bush today.

Herewith is the list of entities affected by his executive order:

Al-Qaeda/Islamic Army

Abu Sayyaf Group

Armed Islamic Group (GIA)

Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM)

Al-Jehad (Egyptian Islamic Jehad)

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Asbat al-Ansar

Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

Al-Itihaad Al-Islamiya (AIAI)

Islamic Army of Aden

Osama bin Laden

Muhammad Atif (aka Subhi Abu Sitta, Abu Hafs al Masri)

Sayf al-Adl

Shaykh Sai-id (aka Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad)

Abu Hafs the Mauritanian (aka Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, K Alid al-Shanqiti)

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi

Abu Zubaydah (aka Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, Tari

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi (aka Abu Abdallah)

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Thirwat Salah Shihata

Tariq Anwar al-Sayyid Ahmad (aka Fathi, Amr al-Fatih)

Muhammad Salah (aka Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn)

Makhtab al-Khidamat/Al Kifah

Wafa Humanitarian Organization

Al Rashid Trust

Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company DV


Russia ‘ready to join rescue missions’

Moscow, September 24
Russian President Vladimir Putin said today Russia was willing to take part in “search and rescue missions” during a US-led international anti-terrorism campaign. Earlier, he said Moscow was ready to open its airspace for a “humanitarian” US mission in Afghanistan.

Mr Putin said Russia was also willing to provide military supplies to the Northern Alliance. AFPBack

Ban on India-based TV channels in Pak

New Delhi, September 24
Pakistan today banned telecast of all India-based TV channels in the country, Radio Pakistan reported.

The decision was taken by the cable operators of Pakistan because of “anti-Pakistani propoganda’’ by these channels.

All cable operators have been directed to suitably adhere to the ban. UNI Back

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