Saturday, October 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

US intelligence warns of more attacks
Washington, October 5
The US intelligence officials have warned members of the Congress that it is highly probable that militants linked to extremist Osama bin Laden will attempt another major attack on American targets at home or abroad in the near future, the Washington Post reported today.

Gas masks fly out of US stores
Washington, October 5
Americans are buying up gas masks out of fear of a biological or chemical weapons strike following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. One shop in Chicago has sold 6,000 gas masks since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, US newspapers reported.

UK paper links J&K terrorism with Pak
London, October 5
As British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives in Islamabad on a four-hour working visit, a leading daily here has highlighted Pakistan’s continuing links to terrorism in Kashmir.

Hunt for clues to Russian plane crash
Moscow, October 5
Rescue workers searched today for the bodies of up to 78 persons who were aboard an airliner flying from Israel to Russia when it exploded and plunged into the Black Sea, while experts hunted for clues to the cause.

Rescue workers unload a fragment of the Tupolev Tu-154 plane from a ship in the Russian Crimean port city of Sochi on Friday. The Russian plane crashed into the Black Sea on Thursday.  — Reuters photo



Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Riyaz Mohammad Khan said that Pakistan had seen sufficient evidence provided by US investigators to allow an indictment of Osama bin Laden.
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USA hails Pak remarks on proof against Laden
Washington, October 5
The USA has welcomed remarks by a Pakistan that the evidence provided by Washington against terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network was “sufficient” to indict him.

Bill for lifting curbs on India
Washington, October 5
Urging the Bush administration to expand its security and counter-terrorism cooperation with India, a Bill introduced in the US Congress has called for lifting of some post nuclear sactions against New Delhi that still remained after the waiver last month.




Pakistanis are taking up arms to join a "jehad" in the defence of Afghanistan and Islam. 
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Israeli policemen and ultra-Orthodox rescue workers inspect the scene of an ambush near the Jewish settlement of Aveni Hefetz in the West Bank on Friday. Suspected Palestinian gunmen shot dead an Israeli motorist in the attack and wounded another. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

Bangladesh heading for constitutional crisis?
October 5
, 2001
Food convoys reach Kabul
October 4
, 2001
Move for Afghan elders’ meeting gains momentum
October 3
, 2001
Pressure mounts on Pak to replace Taliban govt
October 2
, 2001
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
 

A young girl watches as worshippers pray at a mosque in Regents Park, London, on Friday. Thousands of Muslims across Britain joined in special prayers to show their sympathy for the victims of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center and their commitment to world peace. — Reuters

Britain makes direct appeal
London, October 5
In a direct appeal to the Afghan people, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Osama bin Laden must be brought to justice and warned the Taliban saying “Those who try to shield such men from justice share their guilt.” In a radio message put out on the BBC World Service and the Voice of America today, Mr Straw insisted: “This is not a fight against Islam, it is a fight against terror.”

Bush backs NATO expansion
Sofia, October 5
US President George W. Bush today pledged full support for NATO enlargement, as 10 ex-Communist states pressed their cases to join the Alliance amid signs of a shift in Russia’s long-standing opposition. The NATO candidate states meanwhile reiterated their total support for the USA in the war against terrorism.

At least 5 persons have been killed and 9 wounded in a suspected sectarian attack on a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in Karachi.
(28k, 56k)

Gunmen kill 5 in Karachi mosque
Karachi, October 5
At least five persons were killed and nine injured when two masked gunmen fired indiscriminately in a Shia mosque here on Thursday evening.

 

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US intelligence warns of more attacks

Washington, October 5
The US intelligence officials have warned members of the Congress that it is highly probable that militants linked to extremist Osama bin Laden will attempt another major attack on American targets at home or abroad in the near future, the Washington Post reported today.

The threat assessment, based on what officials described as credible new information, was presented at a classified briefing by officials from the FBI, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, the Post said.

One official said there was a “100 per cent chance” of an attack should the USA strike Afghanistan, which has repeatedly rejected US demands to hand over Bin Laden.

One senior official said some of the new information is “very real,’’ but also cautioned that some may be intentional disinformation designed to discourage the USA from retaliating, the Post said.

The new information comes from sources in England, Germany, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and officials believe Egyptian, Somali and Pakistani elements of Bin Laden’s Al Qaida extremist network may be involved, the newspaper said.

Members of congressional intelligence committees declined to comment on the briefings, which are classified. But the Post reported that officials at the White House, Justice Department and State Department have been discussing the best way to convey the new concern to the public.

“We have to believe there will be another attempt by a terrorist group to hit us again,” Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, a Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Post.

“You can just about bet on it. That’s just something you have to believe will happen.’’

The Post said officials were concerned about the potential attacks at any of the hundreds or even thousands of locations including “symbols of American power and culture’’ such as government buildings or entertainment centres.

They are concerned about car bombs or truck bombs exploding near natural gas lines or power plants, as well as possible chemical or biological attacks, the Post said.

But the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies do not have specific information on the nature of the future attack threats, it said.

To head off any future attacks, the FBI has plans to go “full tilt” for 72 hours whenever the USA makes a move against Bin Laden, Al Qaida, or Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, the Post reported, citing a senior law enforcement official.

A senior government official told the Post that, if Al-Qaida follows its normal pattern, further attacks were in various stages of planning and were likely to “mix tactics and targets.”

Under that theory, aircraft hijackings were seen as less likely because security has been increased, while ground-based operations were seen as more probable, the Post added. Reuters
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Gas masks fly out of US stores

Washington, October 5
Americans are buying up gas masks out of fear of a biological or chemical weapons strike following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

One shop in Chicago has sold 6,000 gas masks since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, US newspapers reported.

Stores in other regions of the USA reported selling several hundred masks and in New York, practically all gas masks have been sold.

The high sales volumes were reported despite warnings from experts that most of those masks were old US army issue and would offer little protection from chemical or biological agents.

The US government has been warning of such a potential attack in the past several days. DPA 
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UK paper links J&K terrorism with Pak

London, October 5
As British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives in Islamabad on a four-hour working visit, a leading daily here has highlighted Pakistan’s continuing links to terrorism in Kashmir.

In an editorial, ‘The Guardian’ newspaper also cautioned Mr Blair that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is still playing a “double game” on Afghan issue and the British premier should be ‘beware of too warm an embrace’.

It referred to Pakistan’s continuing links to terrorism in Kashmir and said “after nearly 40 persons were killed in Srinagar this week, a furious India demanded immediate action against the Pakistan-based group deemed responsible. This reasonable request met with familiar obfuscation in Islamabad.”

The daily observed that the “180-degree turnabout in the Pakistani military regime’s Afghan policy since September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, appears almost complete.”

Far from admitting that his pro-Taliban policy was disastrously misconceived, General Musharraf, who vetoed a covert CIA-run operation to capture Osama bin Laden in 1999, still opposes western backing for Northern Alliance. Influential elements within the Pakistani army and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the Taliban’s mentors, appear to have a foot in both camps, the editorial said.

It said General Musharraf had withdrawn his diplomats from Kabul and was on the point of formally cutting ties with his former Taliban allies.

Pakistan has signalled willingness to meet envoys of Afghanistan’s ex-king, Zahir Shah, who hopes to head a government of national unity, and the military ruler is already setting out his ideas about the ‘multi ethnic’ composition of a post-Taliban administration, the daily said.

“Islamabad says it is now convinced by the US evidence implicating Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda gangsters. It meanwhile continues to pledge full support for the US war on terrorism. All of which suggests that in Pakistan, the USA and Britain have discovered a flexible and reliable ally and that Mr Tony Blair, when he meets General Musharraf in Islamabad today, can look forward to an encouraging meeting of minds,” it said.

The editorial said “in point of fact, matters are somewhat more complicated. So volatile is the political situation inside Pakistan, and so strong are anti-American sentiments among militant Islamist groups, that the Pentagon is being forced to look elsewhere (principally Uzbekistan) for operational land bases.

“The hope that Pakistan’s western airfields could be used for anything more than refuelling and temporary stopovers has been vanquished by growing security fears.”

For his pains so far in this crisis, General Musharraf has picked up a likely $ 600 million in US aid, a lifting of nuclear weapons-related sanctions, extended IMF credit and debt relief, and now a big diplomatic bouquet from Britain. “But he is still playing a double game. Mr Blair should beware of too warm an embrace,” the daily said. PTI

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Hunt for clues to Russian plane crash


Ukrainian missile complex S-300 shoots a self-guided missile during the military exercise in eastern Crimea on Thursday. Military sources said the S-300 complex was tested during exercises in the Crimea on Thursday at about the same time when a Russian Tupolev-154 plane with up to 78 people on board exploded and plunged into the Black Sea. — Reuters

Moscow, October 5
Rescue workers searched today for the bodies of up to 78 persons who were aboard an airliner flying from Israel to Russia when it exploded and plunged into the Black Sea, while experts hunted for clues to the cause.

An Emergency Ministry spokesman in Moscow said 11 ships were involved in search operation at the crash area 185 km southwest of Russia’s resort of Sochi. He said the bodies of 11 men and two women had been recovered by 0400 GMT.

Interfax quoted a senior official from the ministry’s North Caucasus branch as saying that the cockpit of Tupolev-154 and a segment of a cabin had been recovered. The bodies and the findings were being taken ashore.

Ukraine was quick to dismiss American suggestions that the Russian plane might have been accidentally hit by a missile test-fired by the Ukrainian military.

A US official, requesting anonymity, said in Washington there was “every indication” a Ukrainian missile was to blame. US officials said a spy satellite had detected a missile’s rocket plume.

But a Russian spokesman, quoted by Interfax news agency, said Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma had told Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone that “there was absolutely no basis to accuse the Ukrainian (military) of any involvement in this tragic incident”. Reuters
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USA hails Pak remarks on proof against Laden

Washington, October 5
The USA has welcomed remarks by a Pakistan that the evidence provided by Washington against terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network was “sufficient” to indict him.

Hailing the announcement, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “Pakistan is a key member of the global coalition against terrorism”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan had said in Islamabad yesterday that the evidence given by the USA against Bin Laden and his network provided “sufficient” basis for his indictment in a court of law.

“Pakistan has stated its intention to work for a broad-based and representative government in Afghanistan and we share that goal as well”, Mr Boucher said.

He said the USA was not engaged in nation-building in Afghanistan but “will help those who seek a peaceful, economically developing Afghanistan that is free from terrorism.” Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the USA would not ask Pakistan to sever ties with the Taliban militia in Afghanistan. “Pakistan as a free nation does as it sees fit”, he said in response to a question.

Meanwhile, Pakistan-based Afghanistan Defence Council, an umbrella organisation of pro-Taliban religious parties and groups, has flayed Islamabad’s acceptance of US evidence against Bin Laden and charged the Musharraf regime with becoming an American ‘attorney’.

“By such actions, Pakistan rulers have become mercenaries against their own Muslim brothers. I am hurt that Pakistan is acting as an attorney of the USA, it is a treason to the Pakistani nation”, chief of the council, Maulana Samiul Haq, was quoted as saying by ‘The Nation’ daily today.

Rejecting the evidence against Bin Laden and his Al-Qaida network, provided by the USA, Haq said it was all “concocted”.

Criticising the Musharraf regime for accepting the evidence, Haq said due to its “ill conceived policies” Pakistan was fast loosing credibility with neighbouring Muslim countries.

Haq, one of the faction leaders of the hardline Jamaat-Ulema-Islami said the USA “conspiracies” were aimed at toppling the Taliban government in Afghanistan and replace it with a regime of its choice.

Haq said President Musharraf had sown the seeds of hatred against himself and his government among the people.

Referring to Tony Blair’s visit today, he said Mr Blair himself provided shelter to terrorists from a number of countries in the world. “President Bush first check Blair’s terrorism before checking others”, he said.

On the comments by Musharraf that Taliban days appeared to have been numbered, Haq said the Taliban’s days were not numbered but Musharraf government’s days were numbered. “Only Allah knows whose days are numbered”, he said. PTI
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Bill for lifting curbs on India

Washington, October 5
Urging the Bush administration to expand its security and counter-terrorism cooperation with India, a Bill introduced in the US Congress has called for lifting of some post nuclear sactions against New Delhi that still remained after the waiver last month.

The Bill titled “US-India Security Cooperation Act, 2001,” introduced by three Congressmen Tom Lantos, Gary Ackerman and James McDermott says the sanctions were ineffective and counter-productive to the national interests of the USA and its non-proliferation goals.

It has been referred to the International Relations Committee of the US Congress.

Noting that India can be a vital strategic partner of the USA on a broad range of common political and security interests, the Bill asks Washington to immediately expand cooperation at all levels in the spheres of non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, counter-drug trafficking and security.

The Bill also takes into account the threat to New Delhi from China’s arsenal of missiles.

Complimenting India, the Bill says India demonstrated that it had a nuclear capability when it tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974, but exercised remarkable restraint for 24 years in foregoing the development and deployment of a nuclear arsenal of warheads.

The Bill notes with appreciation India’s announcement of voluntary moratorium on further nuclear tests and says it has demonstrated a strong commitment to prohibit export of equipment and technology that could pose a risk of increasing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Significantly, the Bill addresses the issue of Chinese aid to Pakistan in the development of weapons of mass destruction. PTI
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Britain makes direct appeal

London, October 5
In a direct appeal to the Afghan people, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Osama bin Laden must be brought to justice and warned the Taliban saying “Those who try to shield such men from justice share their guilt.” In a radio message put out on the BBC World Service and the Voice of America today, Mr Straw insisted: “This is not a fight against Islam, it is a fight against terror.”

And the warnings from Britain, Washington’s staunchest ally in President George W. Bush’s “War on terrorism,” were stark — the government in London said the time was running out for bin Laden, prime suspect behind last month’s US suicide attacks.

In his message, Ms Straw said: “While the Taliban leaders connive with foreign terrorists, the Afghan people suffer from poverty, drought and hunger.” Officials said Mr Straw’s message was read out in Pashto and other ethnic languages. They expected up to 72 per cent of Pashto speakers to hear the specially timed early morning broadcast.

He said a new world consensus had taken shape against terrorism and insisted “We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan.”

“There has been no rush to retaliate. Our interest is not revenge but justice and security,” he said.

But the signals coming from London were increasingly bellicose.

Wrapping up a day-long parliamentary debate on the crisis, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the time was approaching for “forceful military action.”

Mr Hoon said the September 11 attacks in New York and washington had cast a shadow over the world. “We face a choice — to cower in the face of this threat, or to destroy it. With our allies, we are determined to eliminate terrorism as a force in international affairs,” Mr Hoon said.

He warned the Taliban that their chance to avoid military reprisal by handing over bin Laden and ending “their support for terrorism is fast running out”. Reuters
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Bush backs NATO expansion

Sofia, October 5
US President George W. Bush today pledged full support for NATO enlargement, as 10 ex-Communist states pressed their cases to join the Alliance amid signs of a shift in Russia’s long-standing opposition. The NATO candidate states meanwhile reiterated their total support for the USA in the war against terrorism.

“Our governments will fully support the war against terrorism,” said a joint statement by the Presidents of Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Macedonia, Albania and Croatia.

Mr Bush, in a message to a summit of NATO candidates here, said the Alliance was prepared to make “historic decisions” on its enlargement into eastern Europe at a summit in Prague in November, 2002. AFP

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Gunmen kill 5 in Karachi mosque

Karachi, October 5
At least five persons were killed and nine injured when two masked gunmen fired indiscriminately in a Shia mosque here on Thursday evening,

According to the police, the shooting took place when worshippers were leaving the mosque after the evening prayers. The gunmen fled the scene quickly.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack though the police believe it to be a fallout of sectarian conflict.

The injured, which included four children, were taken to a nearby hospital. According to doctors, three of them were in a critical condition. A massive manhunt has been launched to capture the culprits. ANI 
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