Monday, October 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

Focus shifts to hijackers’ European links
Washington, September 30
The authorities in the USA and Europe appeared closer today to drawing a direct link between some of the suspects they were holding or hunting as part of the worldwide probe into the September 11 attacks.

Laden moving opium stocks to the West?

London, September 30
The British authorities believe Osama bin Laden is moving large quantities of opium to the West, both to profit from the sale of heroin and to undermine Western society, and the government is preparing to target opium poppy fields in Afghanistan in any military strikes.
According to the British government, massive stockpiles of raw opium grown in Afghanistan are being moved out of the region in anticipation of military strikes.
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Militia camps ‘run by Pak army’
London, September 30
Taliban supreme commander Mullah Mohammed Omar’s former bodyguard has said in a newspaper interview that the “Taliban is full of Pakistanis” and the militia’s training camps within Pakistan are being run by the Pakistani military.

Sectarian killings in Karachi has prompted the minority Shia Muslims to protest strongly against such killings.
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Hundreds of demonstrators have marched through the streets of downtown Washington to protest against the potential US military action.
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The elusive Osama
Washington September 30
The USA is receiving conflicting intelligence reports about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts that are complicating the Bush administration’s efforts to track down the man it blames for this month’s terrorist attacks, according to The Washington Post today.



Head of the Tibetan government -in-exile says a solution to the India-China border conflict lies in an early resolution of the Tibetan problem.
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EARLIER STORIES

Taliban not averse to talks with USA
September 30
, 2001
UN chief for $ 584 m to feed, shelter Afghan refugees
September 29
, 2001
Liberate Kabul from Taliban yoke: ex-king
September 28
, 2001
7.5 m Afghan refugees will suffer from hunger, cold: UN
September 27
, 2001
Attack plan bid to install pro-US govt: Omar
September 26
, 2001
Kazakh support for US action
September 25
, 2001
Bin Laden’s men leave Al-Qaida camps, disperse
September 24
, 2001
London a haven for international terrorists
September 23
, 2001
FRG arrest warrants for two Arabs
September 22
, 2001
Most oppose Pervez’s bid to back US effort
September 21
, 2001
Bush begins parleys for alliance
September 20
, 2001
  Bahrain freezes accounts of ultras
Manama, September 30
The Bahrain Government today ordered the freezing of accounts of individuals and groups suspected of financing terrorist activities, the Gulf state’s BNA news agency said.

$ 500,000 spent on US attacks
Washington, September 30
The September 11 terrorist attacks were financed with a $ 500,000 bankroll, a law enforcement source said yesterday as the FBI sent more agents to Germany’ where a cell of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network was said to be operating in Hamburg.

No let-up in attacks on S. Asians
New York, September 30
In the days since Black Tuesday, Sin Yen Ling, a civil rights lawyer, has received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls about continued violence and harassment against South Asians and Arab immigrants in the USA.

Medical help reaches KabulPakistani trucks carrying U.N. aid as they cross into Afghanistan at the Chaman border, 130 km northwest of Baluchistan's capital of Quetta, on Sunday.
Geneva, September 30
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today that one of its trucks with medical supplies reached the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday.

Pakistani trucks carrying U.N. aid as they cross into Afghanistan at the Chaman border, 130 km northwest of Baluchistan's capital of Quetta, on Sunday. U.N. aid shipments headed for war-ravaged Afghanistan on Saturday for the first time since these were suspended shortly after the attacks on the USA. — Reuters photo

Why intellectuals fled Kabul
Peshawar
She can remember the cinemas and the picnics in the sun. She can remember the packed cafes and the student parties and the libraries with their shelves heaving with books and the clean, modern hospitals with the calm, competent doctors that made her decide she wanted to be a doctor herself.

Candidates have wrapped up their elections campaigns ahead of Monday's general poll as pre-election violence escalates.
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6 more killed in Bangladesh violence
Dhaka, September 30
At least six more persons were killed and more than 100 injured in what officials hope was the last wave of violence ahead of Bangladesh’s general election tomorrow, news reports said.

Two killed in West Bank
Nablus, September 30
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian workers today in the North of the West Bank as they tried to sneak into Israel, a Palestinian hospital source said.
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Focus shifts to hijackers’ European links

Washington, September 30
The authorities in the USA and Europe appeared closer today to drawing a direct link between some of the suspects they were holding or hunting as part of the worldwide probe into the September 11 attacks.

In Germany, the federal prosecutor’s office said it was opening two new investigations into suspected terrorist groups, amid press reports that the attacks were plotted in the country.

Prosecutor Kay Nehm said he was investigating two Yemenis and a Turkish national on suspicion of belonging to an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group and of preparing attacks in Germany.

Nehm had earlier announced a similar investigation into a number of people of Arab origin suspected of “belonging to a terrorist group” in Hamburg.

The German magazine focus quoted regional and federal police sources as saying the six people of Arab origin, who were allegedly planning an attack on the British Embassy in Hamburg, had been in contact with Mohammed Atta, one of the 19 hijackers identified in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that he had information that supported US allegations that Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks.

“The justified suspicions lead directly to Bin Laden, is entourage and his helpers,” Schroeder told the newspaper, which was due out today.

The British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, also said he had seen “powerful and incontrovertible evidence” linking alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to attacks in the USA.

Much of it came from intelligence services and other sensitive sources, he told BBC television, and leaders were still figuring out how to present it to the public.

“I have seen absolutely powerful and incontrovertible evidence of his links to the events of September 11,” Mr Blair said of Bin Laden.

The New York Times said German intelligence had provided the US probe with key information into the attacks, including an eavesdropped conversation which mentioned “the 30 people travelling for the operation.”

The FBI already knew that 19 suspected hijackers had died on four planes, but now have started scouring flight manifests and other clues for 11 more people who might have been part of the plot, according to daily.

The official, quoted by The Times, said some of the hijackers held planning sessions in Hamburg and enrolled in flight training elsewhere in Europe.

In what may be a related development, British authorities were yesterday holding a 27-year-old Algerian man, a pilot, on suspicion he was an instructor for four of the hijackers.

Lotfi Raissi (27) who denies any involvement in the strikes, was remanded in custody until October 5 on an international arrest warrant originating in the USA.

Reports said Raissi’s name was found in one of the hijackers’ cars and that he was believed to have met some of the hijackers in the USA in July.

FBI chief Robert Mueller said on Friday that his bureau had information linking one of the 19 hijackers to Bin Laden, the Saudi dissident Washington says planned the attacks.

The FBI is zooming in on a small group thought to be key players, and in particular it is scrutinising the activities of Atta.

LONDON: The British police said it had arrested a man headed for the USA at a London airport, on Friday on terrorism charges.

The Sussex police can confirm a 36-year-old man was arrested at Gatwick Airport in transit to the USA on September 28 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act,’’ a spokesman for the police said. He gave no further details.

The man is the latest suspect to have been arrested under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws since the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. AFP, Reuters
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Laden moving opium stocks to the West?

London, September 30
The British authorities believe Osama bin Laden is moving large quantities of opium to the West, both to profit from the sale of heroin and to undermine Western society, and the government is preparing to target opium poppy fields in Afghanistan in any military strikes.

According to reports from official government sources today, an estimated 3,000 tonnes of raw opium — enough to produce 300 tonnes of pure heroin with a street value of $ 30 billion — is thought to be held by the region’s druglords.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office said there had been evidence in recent weeks of a sudden movement of opium out of neighbouring Pakistan where it had been stockpiled.

Bin Laden is said to be closely involved in the Afghan drugs trade and to have his own substantial stockpile of opium.

Opium grown in Afghanistan is thought to account for 95 per cent of the heroin reaching Britain and around 75 per cent of the total supply worldwide.

Although the Taliban last year finally banned the growing of opium poppies, there have been reports they have lifted the ban on Afghan farmers in the light of the threat of military strikes.

“Assessments suggest that their stockpiles of opium are being disposed of because of the threat of war and the need to raise money for arms. Bin Laden has encouraged major traffickers to flood the USA and Europe with heroin as a way of destabilising them,’’ he said.

The reports said the price of opium had collapsed to $ 150 per kg on the Pakistan border from more than four times that amount at the beginning of September.

Planting begins next month, but the crop will only be identifiable from the air in the spring, according to reports. The stocks are said to be held by local Taliban leaders around the cities of Kandahar and Jalalabad. DPA
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Militia camps ‘run by Pak army’

London, September 30
Taliban supreme commander Mullah Mohammed Omar’s former bodyguard has said in a newspaper interview that the “Taliban is full of Pakistanis” and the militia’s training camps within Pakistan are being run by the Pakistani military.

Hafiz Sadiqulla Hassani, who served several years with the Taliban secret police, also revealed that it was Osama bin Laden who finally ran Afghanistan and not the Taliban leader.

Hassani, in an interview published in Sunday Telegraph from London, said he had attended training camps run by the Taliban twice and that both were run by Arabs as well as Pakistanis.

“The first one I went to lasted 10 days in the Yellow Desert in Helmand province, a place where Saudi princes used to hunt, so it has its own airport,” Hassani was quoted as saying by the Sunday Telegraph.

“It was incredibly well guarded and there were many Pakistanis there, both students from religious schools and military instructors,” he said. “The Taliban is full of Pakistanis”

Among instructions and equipment he was given were blank marriage certificates that entitled him to take home and rape women of those he saw as enemies of Islam.

Hassani, who later became Oma’s bodyguard, said: “He’s of medium height, slightly fat with an artificial green eye which doesn’t move. He would sit on a bed issuing instructions and giving people dollars from a tin trunk. He doesn’t say much, which is just as well as he’s a very stupid man. He knows only how to write his name ‘Omar’ and sign it.’

“It is the first time in Afghanistan’s history that the lower classes are governing and by force. There are no educated people in this administration — they are all totally backward and illiterate.”

He, however, said the Taliban were not really in control. “We laughed when we heard the Americans asking Mullah Omar to hand over Laden.”

“The Americans are crazy. It is Osama bin Laden who can hand over Mullah Omar — not the other way round,” Hassani reportedly said. IANS
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The elusive Osama

Washington September 30
The USA is receiving conflicting intelligence reports about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts that are complicating the Bush administration’s efforts to track down the man it blames for this month’s terrorist attacks, according to The Washington Post today.

Bin Laden may have slipped out of Afghanistan and made his way to Somalia, Chechnya or Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier, Province, officials were quoted as saying.

Although the CIA is taking the reports seriously, officials say they still believe Bin Laden is in Afghanistan, where he has been allowed by the country’s ruling Taliban militia to move among mountain redoubts and operate terrorist training camps for the past six years.

Even if their assumption is correct, the Bush administration’s apparent inability to establish Bin Laden’s whereabouts illustrates the difficulties it faces as it tries to hunt down the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks against New York and Washington. DPA
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Bahrain freezes accounts of ultras

Manama, September 30
The Bahrain Government today ordered the freezing of accounts of individuals and groups suspected of financing terrorist activities, the Gulf state’s BNA news agency said.

It said that during the Cabinet’s weekly meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa ordered the Bahrain Monetary Agency (Central Bank) to “take all necessary measures, in compliance with international legitimacy, to freeze the money of any individual or organisation linked to suspicious activities.”

The move is “part of international efforts to crack down on financial support for terrorism,” BNA quoted Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Mohammad Ibrahim al-Mutawa as saying.

Bahrain, the Gulf’s main banking center, is following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, whose Central Bank on Thursday ordered the freezing of accounts and investments of 26 individuals and organisations suspected of financing terrorist activities. AFP
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$ 500,000 spent on US attacks

Washington, September 30
The September 11 terrorist attacks were financed with a $ 500,000 bankroll, a law enforcement source said yesterday as the FBI sent more agents to Germany’ where a cell of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network was said to be operating in Hamburg.

FBI agents tracked the hijackers’ bank accounts, their communications and their travel tickets as they followed a trail that could lead to a small group of chief plotters in Europe and the Middle East.

The FBI said it’s pursuing more than 100,000 leads as agents narrowed their overseas search. Simultaneously in the USA, more than 100 investigations were under way into alleged hate crimes against Arab-Americans.

The law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the half-million dollars was all linked in some way to the plot. The Washington Post reported yesterday the FBI documented numerous large cash withdrawals and a long trail of hotels, rental cars and airplane trips. AP
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No let-up in attacks on S. Asians
Haider Rizvi

New York, September 30
In the days since Black Tuesday, Sin Yen Ling, a civil rights lawyer, has received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls about continued violence and harassment against South Asians and Arab immigrants in the USA.

Ling, a legal fellow at the Asian American Legal Defence and Education Fund, a non-profit legal rights group fighting racial inequality, said: “People are calling for help from all over the country.”

Like many other rights groups, AALDEF started monitoring and documenting cases of harassment, threats and intimidation against South Asians and Arab Americans soon after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The following is a list of racist attacks on South Asians as compiled by AALDEF:

In New York: A Sikh man in Richmond Hill, Queens (a large Indo-Caribbean and Sikh community) was assaulted with a baseball bat and shot at with a BB gun by a group of people. He was seriously injured.

A Floral Park resident reported that an Indian antique store located in Jamaica, Queens, was vandalised when unidentified individuals threw stones through its windows.

Unidentified men with a paintball gun assaulted two Sikh teenage boys in Richmond Hill, Queens. NYPD officers, who witnessed the attack, apprehended he perpetrators. A shop owned by a Sikh was burned down in Ronkonkoma, Long Island.

A Sikh temple in Richmond Hill, Queens, was attacked by miscreants who drove by and fired rubber bullets at the building. Indian stores in Jackson Heights, Queens, were vandalised.

On Long Island, the Sikh owner of a grocery store was shot and killed. A taxi driver of South Asian descent was pulled out of his vehicle and beaten.

In Washington, DC, a Sikh man was accosted by pedestrians on the street, who began to yell expletives and threatened to “get” him and bomb him in retaliation for the terrorist acts.

In Massachusetts an Indian-owned convenience store was vandalised by two teens who threw a Molotov cocktail through the store. The teens were charged with assault with the intent to murder, hate crime, possession of infernal machine, and malicious and willful burning.

An Amtrak train in Providence Rhode Island, was stopped by local police officers, who boarded the train and arrested a Sikh because he appeared “suspicious.”

The passengers of the train applauded as he was taken away, and several white youth shouted, “Let’s kill him, let’s kill him.”

An Indian American walking in the South of Market area of San Francisco was beaten and stabbed by a gang of individuals yelling anti-black and anti-Arab epithets. In Ohio gurdwara was attacked when an individual threw a beer bottle filled with gasoline through the window. The fire was later contained.

In Texas, a southwest Houston tyre store caught fire, two days after customers threatened the Pakistani owner. The customer threatened the victim: “You are going to come in my country and threaten me? IANS
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Medical help reaches Kabul

Geneva, September 30
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today that one of its trucks with medical supplies reached the Afghan capital Kabul yesterday.

“It is very encouraging to have completed this first trip back into Afghanistan,’’ Mr Robert Monin, ICRC head of delegation in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

United Nations aid convoys to Afghanistan, carrying food and warm clothing, resumed over the weekend for the first time since their suspension shortly after the September terrorist attacks.

Mr Monin, who is coordinating operations from Pakistan, said the ICRC hoped to make more regular cross-border trips to Kabul and other Afghan cities and was positioning essential supplies in neighbouring countries. The ICRC’s expatriate staff were not authorised to re-enter the country but conversations continued with the authorities to resolve ‘’this critical issue’’, the ICRC statement said.

The truck was carrying kits to treat up to 500 war-wounded, including dressings, medicines, plaster of Paris and chest drains. Reuters
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Why intellectuals fled Kabul
Jason Burke

Peshawar
She can remember the cinemas and the picnics in the sun. She can remember the packed cafes and the student parties and the libraries with their shelves heaving with books and the clean, modern hospitals with the calm, competent doctors that made her decide she wanted to be a doctor herself.

“Those were the good times,’ she says. “When the Soviet Union was in control. Since then everything has been a long dark night”.

Last week Saira finally left Kabul for the relative safety, and very relative liberalism, of Pakistan. Here she will not be harangued, or worse, if a soldier spots her make-up.

‘It was hell,’ she says quietly. ‘It got worse every day. After being used to freedom it was just so much humiliation and frustration.’

Saira is one of the last of the Afghan middle class to leave. Her father, once an important official in the state airline, left two years ago. Saira had hung on in the hope that things might get better. They didn’t.

Afghanistan has been stripped of its middle class. All those with capital, qualifications or initiative have left. Some have made homes in Pakistan, the lucky ones have made it to the West. Only the poor remain. Saira’s story explains much about the turmoil in the country — and the twisted logic underpinning the ideology of the Taliban regime which governs more than 90 per cent of it.

Before King Zahir Shah was deposed, he tried to modernise his isolated and conservative country. But, though the pace of change was too fast for the conservative religious and tribal leaders in the rural areas, it was not fast enough for the Soviet-sponsored republican clique that succeeded him.

When they tried to impose a radical reform programme there was a rural revolt that threatened the regime’s existence. Moscow sent in tanks to prop it up.

Partly for ideological reasons and partly for practical ones, the Soviet Union subsidised schools and hospitals, built a vast bureaucracy with well-paid jobs for Kabulis and constructed a new city centre with open streets and parks.

Saira was one of 1,000 medical students at the University of Kabul. She specialised in surgery and obstetrics. But soon after she qualified things began to change.

With massive American support, the Afghan resistance groups finally forced the Soviet Union out of their country in 1979. Three years later they had defeated the stooge government the Russians had left behind and marched into Kabul. Saira watched them entering her city on the television because it was not safe to walk the streets.

When the Mujahideen factions started fighting they thought nothing of rocketing civilian areas. Parts of the city were levelled. The family fled, returning to Kabul in early 1996 after the worst of the infighting was over. But the worst regime was to come.

When the Taliban seized Kabul they were determined to purge what they saw as a satanic den of iniquity and immediately set about imposing their fanatical rule. Music and television were forbidden. Women were banned from schools and universities, and forced to wear the burqa.

Saira started work again in one of the main hospitals in Kabul. Supplies were hard to come by and she had to wear the burqa in the streets and a headscarf and veil while operating.

Finally, after Saira had refused to operate on a senior Taliban’s relative instead of a seriously ill child, she was banned from her hospital. Her wage — $22 a month — had not been paid for six months anyway. She went to stay with friends in the eastern city of Jalalabad and spent a week illegally watching the television. Observer News Service
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6 more killed in Bangladesh violence

Bangladesh paramilitary soldiers escort ballot boxes in a rickshaw as they deliver them to a polling station in Dhaka on Sunday.
Bangladesh paramilitary soldiers escort ballot boxes in a rickshaw as they deliver them to a polling station in Dhaka on Sunday ahead of the country's general election. Shortage of transport has forced polling authorities to engage rickshaws to carry polling materials.
— Reuters photo

Dhaka, September 30
At least six more persons were killed and more than 100 injured in what officials hope was the last wave of violence ahead of Bangladesh’s general election tomorrow, news reports said.

The deaths push the fatality count to more than 130 during campaigning that has been characterised by bloody exchanges between the two main parties.

In the notoriously violence-prone southern Bhola island district, three more deaths were reported overnight following yesterday attack by masked gunmen on a village in the Daulatkhan area, the Independent newspaper said. Two persons were reported killed in the district yesterday.

The Independent said three others were killed in political violence in western Rajshahi, northeastern Sylhet and southeastern Feni districts late yesterday.

Security forces were on alert today as a 48-hour ban on political meetings and protests came into force at midnight yesterday. AFP
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Two killed in West Bank

Nablus, September 30
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian workers today in the North of the West Bank as they tried to sneak into Israel, a Palestinian hospital source said.

Husni Abu Leil, 19, from the Balata Palestinian refugee camp in Nablus and Khalil Sarafandi, 50, from the nearby Askar camp died when the soldiers opened fire on two cars carrying Palestinian workers. Three others were slightly wounded, the source said. They were taken to the hospital at Tulkarm after being shot near Attara village.

The incident came after a fragile ceasefire had been announced on Wednesday by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Mr Shimon Peres, and the Palestinian leader, Mr Yasser Arafat. AFP
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