Tuesday, October 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India



W O R L D

Pressure mounts on Pak to replace Taliban govt
Islamabad, October 1
Pressure has mounted on Pakistan to help replace the Taliban with an alternative government, even as the militia’s supreme leader warned its former king against returning to rule Afghanistan.

Jaswant: Set up global fund for terrorism victims
New York, October 1
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has urged Indian Americans to set up a fund to help victims of terrorism worldwide, especially those in militancy-hit Indian areas like Jammu and Kashmir.








Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh made a brief visit to New York to meet  Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.
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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Indian's Foreign and Defence Minister Jaswant Singh shakes hands with New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Sunday after receiving New York police and fire department caps during a meeting in New York. — AFP photo

USA ‘shelves’ Kabul bombing plan
Washington, October 1
Washington has shelved plans for bombing raids on Afghanistan because of a shortage of viable targets, opting instead to deploy special forces, the Newsweek said in its issue appearing today.

Secret dossier links Al-Qaida to hijack teams
Peshawar
The road leads west from the checkpost into the barren mountains and the setting sun. A few soldiers in black uniforms of the Pakistani Frontier Corps with Kalashnikovs lean against the wall of their hut.

Over 1 lakh Afghans sneak into Pak
Islamabad, October 1
Nearly 100,000 Afghan refugees have managed to enter Pakistan illegally despite strict vigil along the country’s winding border with Afghanistan, Online news agency reported.
Afghans fearing attacks by the United States have deserted the eastern city of Jalalabad.
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EARLIER STORIES

Focus shifts to hijackers’ European links
October 1
, 2001
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
 

U.S. Attorney General says talking won't stop terrorism.
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Six Islamic terrorists held in Bosnia
Sarajevo, October 1
Six suspected Islamic terrorists have been arrested in Bosnia in three operations, the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina said today.

$ 1.21 million Chinese aid to Pak
Beijing, October 1
In a major diplomatic initiative, Chinese President Jiang Zemin has announced an aid of $ 1.21 million for Pakistan and fully backed President Pervez Musharraf’s efforts to combat terrorism.

UN food trucks in Kabul
Islamabad, October 1
The first United Nations aid trucks send to Kabul since last month’s attack in the USA arrived there early today with 218 tonnes of wheat for the city, according to a U.N. official.

Polling begins in Bangladesh amidst tight security.

(28k, 56k)

2 die in Bangla poll clashes
Dhaka, October 1
At least two persons were killed and 100 injured in sporadic clashes between rival political groups as millions of Bangladeshis voted amidst unprecedented security to elect a new Parliament today.



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Pressure mounts on Pak to replace Taliban govt
Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad, October 1
Pressure has mounted on Pakistan to help replace the Taliban with an alternative government, even as the militia’s supreme leader warned its former king against returning to rule Afghanistan.

Reports said US Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday evening to discuss the issue of replacing the Taliban militia.

A senior Pakistani government official said Powell also offered gunship helicopters and other equipment for increased vigilance along the Pak-Afghan border.

The official said British Prime Minister Tony Blair was expected to visit Pakistan in a “couple of days” and was likely to present a plan to replace the Taliban militia with some “moderates” in Afghanistan.

Mr Blair will discuss the regional security situation and share a strategy against terrorism with the Pakistani authorities, the official said. “He is likely to hold negotiations for bridging the gap between the Pakistani authorities and the Northern Alliance in pursuing the anti-terrorism campaign,” said the official.

Pakistan and Britain were allies on the Afghan issue when Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and Britain is now a key player in the anti-terrorism alliance that emerged after last month’s US terror attacks.

But while Western powers support the installation of an alternative government, particularly the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance that controls 10 pc of the country, Pakistan has so far opposed the suggestion.

In the present scenario, the 86-year-old former king, Zahir Shah, who has lived in exile since 1973, has become a focal point of diplomatic activity to find an alternative to the Taliban.

A delegation of Afghan elders and military commanders met the former king in Italy as his call to summon a traditional “Loya Jirga” (grand assembly) to resolve his country’s problems gathered momentum.

But the Northern Alliance does not seem to be keen on having Shah as a leader. In a recent statement carried by Pakistani newspapers, an alliance spokesman said no foreign interference would be accepted in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

On the other hand the supreme leader of the Taliban movement, Mullah Muhammad Omar, was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Shariah of to find an alternative to the Taliban.

Mullah Omar was quoted as saying by state-run Radio Shariah of Afghanistan that Zahir Shah had no role to play in the nation. “Forget Afghanistan, you won’t be able to solve the issue of Afghanistan in your lifetime,” Omar said.

NEW YORK: US President George W. Bush has approved a covert plan to strengthen forces opposed to the Taliban militia, the New York Times reported on Monday. The report came after the Taliban, contradicting earlier statements, acknowledged on Sunday that the militia was protecting Osama bin Laden.

The Times said the covert aid would aim at strengthening the Northern Alliance that is fighting the Taliban from northern Afghanistan, and would also be used to stir up resistance among Pashtun tribal groups in the south. IANS, AFP

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Jaswant: Set up global fund for terrorism victims

New York, October 1
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has urged Indian Americans to set up a fund to help victims of terrorism worldwide, especially those in militancy-hit Indian areas like Jammu and Kashmir.

India’s Ambassador to the ISA, Mr Lalit Mansingh, told the gathering that Mr Jaswant Singh wanted Indian-Americans to set up a fund on those lines. “Please take this thought seriously and do whatever you can do,” he said.

Sources said the minister, who met with community leaders on Sunday morning, first mooted the proposal during his meeting with Indian National Foundation (INF) leaders.

INF is an umbrella body comprising Indian American organisations such as the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin, and the National Federation of Indian Associations.

“The minister said the fund is for all terrorism victims, particularly for those in India, in order to help their families and their children in their education as well as for their rehabilitation,” said Mr Sudhir Parikh, an AAPI member present at the meeting.

Addressing the inter-faith prayer, Mr Jaswant Singh said he had come with a message of peace and amity. “We support the USA in its fight against terrorism,” he said, adding, we have been suffering the menace of terrorism for more than a decade.

“We have brought once again the message of peace and amity to the forefront of the conscience of humanity,” he said amid thunderous applause. About 250 people, from New York and New Jersey, braved incessant rain and cold winds as he addressed the meetings.

Congratulating those present for the spirit with which they had braved the elements, he said: “Come rain or sunshine or high water, the fight against terrorism must continue. We need to be resolute, and we need patience.”

Community leaders are believed to have assured the minister that a fund on the lines he had suggested would be started shortly. “We have already scheduled a fundraiser for victims of the WTC on October 14 in New Jersey, we can use the same platform to start a fund for victims of terrorism as suggested by the minister,” Mr Parikh said.

Besides the minister and Mr Mansingh, Consul-General Shashi Tripathi, Ambassador-at-Large B.K. Agnihotri and officials of various Indian organisations addressed the gathering.

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USA ‘shelves’ Kabul bombing plan

Washington, October 1
Washington has shelved plans for bombing raids on Afghanistan because of a shortage of viable targets, opting instead to deploy special forces, the Newsweek said in its issue appearing today.

The weekly news magazine said President George W. Bush’s administration concluded that Afghanistan, where prime terror suspect Osama bin Laden was thought to be hiding out, had fewer good targets than Kosovo.

“The terrorist camps have emptied; the only good military targets, apart from a few TV and radar stations, militia headquarters and fuel dumps, are the Taliban’s “cavalry” of pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns and rocket launchers,” it said.

Going after such targets would be “more difficult than hitting the Pony Express,” the magazine said, alluding to the 19th century US horse-borne mail service.

Special forces operatives have already received orders for Afghanistan, it said, but could also be deployed in such places as Sudan or Lebanon to seek out terrorists as part of Mr Bush’s war against terror. AFP

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Secret dossier links Al-Qaida to hijack teams
Jason Burke

Peshawar
The road leads west from the checkpost into the barren mountains and the setting sun. A few soldiers in black uniforms of the Pakistani Frontier Corps with Kalashnikovs lean against the wall of their hut.

Beyond the checkpost at Thal, a tiny village on the edge of Pakistan’s tribal areas, is a no-man’s-land where the only law is that of the gun and the tribe. The government’s authority is minimal.

A few miles away is a series of small encampments. One of them is known as al-Farooq camp and is one of Osama bin Laden’s key bases. The British newspaper, The Observer, has obtained information from a secret dossier compiled by an Arab intelligence service and from US sources, which connects Bin Laden’s Al-Quida organisation to the hijack teams.

According to the sources, about 18 months ago, a 27-year-old Saudi went to al-Farooq, where he was trained for several months. It was to end on American Airlines Flight No. 11 as it flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center. His name was Wali Mohamed al-Shehri. Within days of the attack on New York, the FBI released a series of names of the hijackers. Al-Shehri was one of them.

Linking al-Shehri to the al-Farooq camp means the Americans now have a case against bin Laden. So far they have been struggling to convince the world of the Saudi dissident’s guilt.

Al-Shehri’s stay in al-Farooq, if confirmed, is a major breakthrough. But The Observer has uncovered further evidence that appears to link Bin Laden with the attacks in New York and Washington. The classified dossier on Al-Quida lists 25 leading figures in the group who have been with Bin Laden recently. Sixth on the list is a man called Hamza al-Ghamdi. According to the FBI, a Saudi man with the same name was on United Airlines flight No. 175, which crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Al-Ghamdi has also been named by the British police as having spent time in the UK before flying to the USA to take part in the terror attacks. According to the secret dossier: “Al-Ghamdi is from Saudi Arabia... From the beginning of the jehad he was a bodyguard of Osama and has participated in fighting [with the Islamist guerillas] in Tajikistan...

It names a man called Omar Abu Mohammed Aljazari as a key Bin Laden accomplice and the “military instructor of the al-Farooq camp brigade”. Abdullah Abdul Aziz Albahdi, another senior Al-Quida figure, is described as the “military trainer at al-Farooq”.

Also on the dossier’s list is Abdul Sheik al-Libs, a 35-year-old Libyan who has been arrested by Pakistan in the past and is, according to the dossier, “close to Osama and... currently teaching in the al-Farooq camp brigade”.

The dossier also gives pictures of those men who are thought to be with bin Laden in Afghanistan. Some are now well-known such as Mohammed Atef al-Masri, Bin Laden’s military commander and deputy, or Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Egyptian extremist movement Al-Jehad and Bin Laden’s political adviser.

But many other names are new. Half are Egyptian, three are Saudi Arabians and the dossier reveals the extent of their global experience.

The Egyptian connection is key. Eight members of the Al-Quida inner circle, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and his brother, are members of the Egyptian Al-Jehad group. Many have been sentenced to death or lengthy spells in jail by the authorities in Cairo.

The story of Mohamed Rashid al-Owhali, a 20-year-old Saudi who left his homeland in 1996 to fight in the jehad gives the best insight into the life at the camps.

Al-Owhali confessed his role in the East African bombings of the FBI in 1998. He told them that he was not worried whether he ended up in Bosnia, Chechnya or elsewhere as long as he could fight the unbelievers.

Finally he found his way to Peshawar, Pakistani border city, and was sent to the nearby Khaldan camp for basic training.

From the Khaldan camp, al-Owhali told the FBI, that he was sent to the al-Farooq camp where he ‘received training in security and intelligence and ‘how to conduct hijackings of buses or planes’. Al-Owhali then went to fight for the Taliban and, having distinguished himself in combat, was then sent for by Al-Quida.

After receiving his final training Al-Owhali was given the mission he wanted so badly. He was to bomb the Nairobi embassy and he was to die doing it.

The dossier also reveals links between the hijackers and another attack. One man named in the report is said to be working with Omar Abdur Rahman, the ‘blind sheikh’ convicted of conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Two of his sons are with Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

All camps, including al-Farooq and Khaldan camp, have now been vacated and cleared of everything.

What is known is that all major establishments previously occupied by Al-Quida and the Arab ‘International Brigade’ have been vacated. The Guardian, London

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Over 1 lakh Afghans sneak into Pak

Islamabad, October 1
Nearly 100,000 Afghan refugees have managed to enter Pakistan illegally despite strict vigil along the country’s winding border with Afghanistan, Online news agency reported.

“We are not sure of the exact number but it is almost 100,000”, an official source said. “The refugees, fleeing due to threats of possible U.S. attacks, find one way or the other to enter Pakistan.

“The influx of the refugees is unstoppable. They are coming in large numbers. The U.N. also wants us to accommodate them”. But he added: “We don’t want any more refugees because we have no arrangements. We are already overburdened.

“Several illegal entrants have been arrested and sent back home. Some 6,000 to 7,000 were sent back by the authorities as they tried to sneak into Pakistan illegally”.

The government, in a bid to stem illegal entries from Afghanistan, recently deployed more troops at the border.

The U.N. and other donor countries have promised financial assistance to help an expected one million refugees who may flee Afghanistan in the event of U.S. air strikes.

Pakistan already accommodates nearly three million Afghans since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Meanwhile, the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan has arrested six persons for distributing pamphlets supporting exiled former King Zahir Shah, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported on Sunday. IANS, AFP

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Six Islamic terrorists held in Bosnia

Sarajevo, October 1
Six suspected Islamic terrorists have been arrested in Bosnia in three operations, the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina said today.

Two of the suspects were arrested by the Bosnian police at Sarajevo airport and four others by SFOR troops at two locations near Sarajevo. A source close to the Bosnian Government said the arrested men were suspected of planning acts of terror. Their nationalities were not made known.

He added that two of the suspects were detained as they tried to enter a restricted area of the airport. One was found to have been carrying a knife, the source said.

An SFOR statement said today that documents were impounded and a safe containing a large amount of cash from a Saudi Arabian relief organisation was seized.

The arrests were made several days ago. SFOR troops in Bosnia have been on high alert since the September 11 attacks in the USA. DPA

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$ 1.21 million Chinese aid to Pak

Beijing, October 1
In a major diplomatic initiative, Chinese President Jiang Zemin has announced an aid of $ 1.21 million for Pakistan and fully backed President Pervez Musharraf’s efforts to combat terrorism.

China fully understands and respects the position Pakistan holds and the measures it has taken in the efforts to combat terrorism, Mr Jiang told Musharraf on telephone last night.

Describing Pakistan as a sincere friend, he said to extend its support to Islamabad, Beijing has decided to offer 10 million yuan (about $ 1.21 million) in emergency aid to the country, Xinhua news agency reported today. PTI

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UN food trucks in Kabul

Islamabad, October 1
The first United Nations aid trucks send to Kabul since last month’s attack in the USA arrived there early today with 218 tonnes of wheat for the city, according to a U.N. official.

World Food Programme spokesman Khaled Mansour said: “Eight WFP trucks with 218 tonnes of food arrived in Kabul this morning. They faced no problems on the way”.

“This is a positive sign and we will continue to ship more food into Afghanistan,” he said, adding that food would be very vital for programmes such as the bakeries in Kabul that help about 350,000 Afghans.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has removed fighter aircraft from a south-western air base to facilitate UN flights stockpiling food and other supplies in case of a flood of refugees from Afghanistan, a senior military official said today.

The planes were removed yesterday from the Smungli air base located on the outskirts of Quetta, the official said on the condition of anonymity. AP, ANI

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Taliban’s assets in UK seized

London, October 1
Britain today seized £ 60 million in assets of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban regime after the closure of the militia’s account in a European bank here as Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was planning to bring in “draconian legislation” to deal firmly with asylum abusers and terrorists.

The treasury while announcing the decision to seize the assets of the Taliban said Britain acted under a UN Security Council resolution adopted in October 1999. PTI

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C’wealth reviews Pak’s re-entry

Sydney, October 1
Commonwealth is reviewing re-entry of Pakistan into the fold amid indications that the grouping may adopt a “sympathetic” attitude towards the country for cooperating with the worldwide campaign against terrorism, Secretary-General Don Mckinnon said today.

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2 die in Bangla poll clashes
Tribune News Service and PTI

Dhaka, October 1
At least two persons were killed and 100 injured in sporadic clashes between rival political groups as millions of Bangladeshis voted amidst unprecedented security to elect a new Parliament today.

Balloting, which began at 8 a.m., closed at 4 p.m. in about 30,000 polling booths across the country to choose 299 representatives for the 300-member Parliament.

The privately-owned Ekushey television said a person was shot dead near a polling centre in a clash between supporters of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the southern district of Barisal.

In another incident, a man was hacked to death during a clash between rival supporters in Mehendiganj district, the TV channel said.

Ekushey TV, quoting Election Commission sources, reported that voting was postponed in 42 polling centres in different parts of the country.

It said at least 10 persons were injured when supporters of the Awami League and the BNP clashed in Kushtia.

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