Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Islamic nations to discuss US strikes today
Doha, October 9
Islamic nations meeting tomorrow would not condemn the US-led strikes on Afghanistan, mainly because they are fed up with the extremist Taliban movement, analysts and officials said today. Foreign ministers representing the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims are instead expected to appease their seething populations at the emergency meeting in the Gulf state of Qatar by expressing solidarity with the impoverished Afghans.

Powell “to comfort Pakistan against India”
Washington, October 9
A key reason for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to South Asia is to assure Pakistan that it will not be attacked by India, itching to end terrorism in Kashmir, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

US strikes to be broadbased
Washington, October 9
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has indicated that the military strikes would involve many more countries and terrorists than just those in Afghanistan being harboured by the Taliban.In a TV interview on Monday, he said: “The strikes against the terrorists and terrorist networks are broadbased and are going to be sustained over a period.”

Kabul residents flee after fresh raids
Kabul, October 9
Residents of the Afghan capital spent another fearful night yesterday that ended as it began — with an air raid and the sound of anti-aircraft fire pounding into the sky above Kabul.As the muezzin called the faithful to mosques for the first prayers of the day, the drone of a plane could be heard overhead and Taliban fighters responded with a ferocious blast of anti-aircraft fire.

Pak nukes could fall into Taliban hands
Moscow, October 9
As the US-led military strikes on Afghanistan gain momentum, Russian security experts have expressed concern over the possibility of Pakistani nuclear arms falling into the hands of the Taliban militia.


Eric A. Cornell (L) and Carl E. Wieman, who along with Germany's Wolfgang Ketterle, won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics on October 9 for freezing matter into a new state that may help make microscopic computers and revolutionise aircraft guidance. —Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 

The police fires water canon at Muslim protesters after they attempted to breach the barbed wire barricades erected in front of the US embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Indonesian police tear-gas protesters   
Jakarta, October 9
The police fired warning shots and tear gas in a clash with hundreds of stick-wielding Islamic activists outside the US Embassy in Jakarta today. Officers beat several protesters with sticks, witnesses said, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or arrests.

Filipino Muslims rally round Bin Laden
Marawi (Philippines), October 9
Nearly 5,000 Filipino Muslims chanted the name of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and burned the flags of the USA and Britain in a protest today against the US-led air attacks on Afghanistan.

Mosque meeting place for terrorists
London, October 9
A mosque in the heart of London is emerging as a hub of terrorist activities and a common link between the perpetrators of the September 11 terror strikes in the USA and Osama bin Laden, the main suspect behind the attacks, a media report said here today.

Japanese troops, supplies reach Pakistan
Islamabad, October 9

Six Japanese C-130H transport aircraft landed here today, bringing emergency supplies for refugees expected to flee us-led military attacks on Afghanistan.The transport aircraft carried relief supplies, including 200 blankets and 315 tents as well as about 150 military personnel, marking a rare overseas deployment of Japanese troops.

Frenchman wearing burqa held
Islamabad, October 9
Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia has arrested a Frenchman disguised in a woman’s burqa near the eastern city of Jalalabad, the AIP reported today. The Pakistan-based news agency, which has close contacts with the Taliban, said the man was with two other persons in Goshta, 35 km east of Jalalabad, when he was arrested.

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Islamic nations to discuss US strikes today

Doha, October 9
Islamic nations meeting tomorrow would not condemn the US-led strikes on Afghanistan, mainly because they are fed up with the extremist Taliban movement, analysts and officials said today.

Foreign ministers representing the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims are instead expected to appease their seething populations at the emergency meeting in the Gulf state of Qatar by expressing solidarity with the impoverished Afghans.

They will also try to ensure that Washington does not extend its war on terrorism to any other Muslim country.

Ordinary Muslims and Arabs have slammed the US-led assault against Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban which is protecting him.

But most of their governments have remained silent after years of criticising the Taliban’s hardline Islamist ideology and its harbouring of Arab and Muslim militants.

Only Syria, Iraq and Iran, hardline states known for their anti-US rhetoric, have so far publicly criticised the strikes.

Some officials said the 56-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting was likely to face difficulties in forging a consensus between Muslim nations opposed to the strike and those who tacitly supported it.

But analysts point out that only one Muslim country, Pakistan, recognises the Taliban and that Bin Laden’s pledges to purge Islamic countries of their pro-Western leaders have intensified their desire to get rid of him.

Iran called for the emergency OIC meeting, which was intended to formulate a Muslim reaction to last month’s suicide attacks on US cities, which Washington blamed on Bin Laden, a Saudi-born militant who sees himself as the vanguard of Islam.

Before the US retaliatory strikes, Qatari officials had predicted that the Doha meeting would have no trouble meeting its objectives — agreeing on a common definition of terrorism and a mechanism to grant humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees.

Analysts now expect a final communique that largely focuses on the plight of the Afghans but features little, if any, criticism of the USA.

Another key issue will be renewed support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel, particularly, after Bin Laden used the emotive issue as a rallying cry in a taped interview on Qatar’s widely-watched Al-Jazeera network.

Mohammed al-Sayid said of Egypt’s Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, said he expected the OIC, led by Arab ministers meeting later today, to call on the USA to spare Sudan, Iraq and Syria — nations on Washington’s terrorist list. Reuters
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Powell “to comfort Pakistan against India”

Washington, October 9
A key reason for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to South Asia is to assure Pakistan that it will not be attacked by India, itching to end terrorism in Kashmir, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

It quoted unnamed US officials as saying that a primary objective of the weekend trip “is to reassure Pakistan that it will not come under attack from India while the attention of both Islamabad and Washington has turned to Afghanistan.”

An unnamed senior official was quoted as saying: “The Pakistanis have always worried, when they get diverted or consumed by one thing, about the Indians jumping in to take advantage.”

Mr Stephen P. Cohen, a South Asia expert at the Brookings Institution, told the Post that US officials must make it clear that New Delhi should not “jump the gun.”

He said: “The Indian argument will be: ‘Why shouldn’t we do to Pakistan what the Americans did to Afghanistan?’”

New Delhi has for long accused Islamabad of arming and harbouring terrorist groups.

The Post noted that India had provided both public and private assurances that it would not exploit Pakistan’s tenuous situation, especially since the current US military campaign in Afghanistan could target Islamic guerrillas who have carried out attacks against Indians.

But anger against Pakistan was running high in India since the October 1 car bombing and attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislature in Srinagar that killed 38 people, it said.

It said General Powell’s visit to Pakistan and India this weekend underscores the Bush administration’s queasiness that the war in Afghanistan could escalate tensions between the two South Asian countries.

“While both countries are watching the war in Afghanistan with their own regional interests in mind, Pakistan and India are also keeping a nervous eye on each other,” it said.

“It’s a nervous time, no doubt about it. Powell would be a very reassuring presence,” said a senior administration official. “Now that the military action has started, there’s an opportunity to go out and talk to both sides and say, ‘Let’s stay calm.’”

The Post said with Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh state coming up, U.S. officials are concerned that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee could be under “renewed public pressure to retaliate against Pakistan.”

A US government official said: “Both sides are inherently suspicious that the other side will take advantage of the situation. The message to India is not only restraint. It’s also, ‘We hear you on terrorism.’”

During his stop in Islamabad, General Powell will seek to demonstrate US faith in Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, but make it clear that the Taliban regime “should be replaced by a broad-based government reflecting various Afghan ethnic groups, despite Pakistani preference for a regime dominated by Pashtuns.”

“This remains a matter of much sensitivity in Pakistan since many influential members of its security services come from the Pashtun community,” it noted.

“Powell will also have to deliver a comforting message in New Delhi that the renewed focus on Pakistan does not spell trouble for Indo-American relations,” US officials said. IANS
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US strikes to be broadbased
Vasantha Arora

Washington, October 9
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has indicated that the military strikes would involve many more countries and terrorists than just those in Afghanistan being harboured by the Taliban.

In a TV interview on Monday, he said: “The strikes against the terrorists and terrorist networks are broadbased and are going to be sustained over a period.”

“It is still early to fully comment on the air strikes but a greater amount of information will be available later.”

He said the campaign against terrorism could take some years to complete. “The reason I say that is because there are a lot of people who’ve been trained in these terrorist training camps in many of the countries that sponsor terrorism.”

About the strikes that began in Afghanistan on Sunday, he said every target was a military target or one associated with the Al Qaida, the terrorist network of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, whom the USA considers prime suspect in the September 11 attacks.

Mr Rumsfeld also said all aircraft returned safely from the 30 strike missions carried out by US and British aircraft and ships on the first day.

In reply to a question, he said: “Well, the Taliban was obviously prepared. There had been so much preparation in the movement of forces and troops. The aircraft did not leave their runway, however, although there was fire from the ground by various types of surface-to-air missiles.”

He said every single target was characterised as a low collateral damage. And the statements by the Taliban were “typically lies, as they have been doing since the beginning. They’ve claimed that they’ve shot down some aircraft, which is false.”

In reply to another question, he said: “Well, there are any number of elements that are opposing the Taliban and the Al Qaida. There are tribes in the south. There’s the Northern Alliance. Indeed, there are even elements of Taliban that oppose the Al Qaida. And the degree of knowledge that they would have had would have varied substantially.”

“Much of what they have said over a period of time is false,” Mr Rumsfeld said. “These people are terrorists. They are harbouring terrorists.”

Mr Rumsfeld said even with the military offensive now under way, Al Qaida was still a threat. “While they’re not a threat in the sense of having an army, navy or an air force, they are very much a threat in terms of international terrorism, not just in the USA, but in many nations of the world,” he said. IANS

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Kabul residents flee after fresh raids

Kabul, October 9
Residents of the Afghan capital spent another fearful night yesterday that ended as it began — with an air raid and the sound of anti-aircraft fire pounding into the sky above Kabul.

As the muezzin called the faithful to mosques for the first prayers of the day, the drone of a plane could be heard overhead and Taliban fighters responded with a ferocious blast of anti-aircraft fire.

Three loud explosions ripped through the war-ravaged city as the first shafts of sunlight crept above the horizon.

“How long more do the Americans want us to suffer?’’ asked one anguished man. “We can’t sleep...we can’t go to mosques to worship.’’ The previous night had started in similar fashion. Just as a regular curfew took effect, US warplanes and cruise missiles roared over the city as Washington’s war on terrorism resumed.

It was still too early to establish what damage the latest raids inflicted — or if there were any casualties — but authorities said Sunday’s bombardments had killed up to 20 persons.

Hundreds of panicked Kabul residents were fleeing the city on Tuesday. Having endured over two decades of war, the latest assault was just too much.

Although inured to conflict, Afghans generally know who they are fighting. They have to see their enemy — or at least be within shooting range — to inflict any damage with their basic, ageing weapons.

This conflict is something new. Stealthy missiles launched from submarines hundreds of miles (kilometres) away and planes capable of flying all the way from America to delivery a deadly payload.

“Does the world know that people in Kabul have been in trauma for the past two days?’’ asked a baker in the morning. “They may know, but since it is not happening on their doorstep they don’t care, perhaps,’’ he said. “For God’s sake stop these games just leave us alone in peace,’’ a taxi driver said. “They are savage and continuing such attacks will bring disaster for everyone. Stop scaring people and causing terror.’’

Although most residents hit out at the USA for making their lives a misery, some saw the strikes as the beginning of the end of the Taliban leadership. Reuters

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Pak nukes could fall into Taliban hands

Moscow, October 9
As the US-led military strikes on Afghanistan gain momentum, Russian security experts have expressed concern over the possibility of Pakistani nuclear arms falling into the hands of the Taliban militia.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov is reported to have raised this issue at recent NATO plus Russia meeting in Brussels and last week at several levels in Washington. The consequences of the US strike on the fate of Pakistani nuclear arsenals were also discussed.

“On Friday President Pervez Musharraf’s spokesman declared the issue of safety of nuclear weapons is purely the problem of Pakistan and nobody has the right to decide it. However, it would be too late to solve this problem when it would cease to be purely a Pakistani problem,” pro-Kremlin ‘Vremya Novostyei’ daily wrote.

Though proper safeguards are in place to protect the nuclear arsenals, the daily said it hoped that “in case of a civil war the western educated pampered Pakistani army brass, would follow the South African scenario, where the military dismantled the country’s six nuclear bombs before the transfer of power to the black majority”. A former Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, General Leonid Ivashov, said “ Pakistan is today on a slippery path which would lead to either an extremist coup or a bloody military dictatorship,”

“It could sound paradoxical, but unable to withstand hitech smart weapons the Taliban may declare a jehad against the Government of Pakistan - the weakest ally of Washington’s anti-terrorism coalition,” Itar-Tass said, quoting unnamed ‘highly placed’ Russian military experts. PTI
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Pak seizes 3 Taliban copter gunships

Islamabad, October 9
Following a tip-off by US airborne surveillance stations, Pakistan has seized three Taliban-owned helicopter gunships which landed in the North-West Frontier Province.

The choppers, flown by Taliban pilots, took off from unnamed airstrips in Paktia province in Afghanistan, bordering the tribal areas in the NWFP — and landed at a ocation in Kurram agency yesterday. 

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Zahir’s son-in-law warns Pak

Rome, October 9
Afghanistan’s former royal family has warned neighbouring Pakistan not to try to play a kingmaker’s role if the Afghan ruling Taliban regime collapses under internal and external pressure.

Gen Abdul Wali, a senior aide and son-in-law of the Afghan former monarch, Mohammed Zahir Shah, said today that the former ex-king had, however, nominated a delegation to travel to Pakistan in a week’s time. AFP
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Indonesian police tear-gas protesters

Jakarta, October 9
The police fired warning shots and tear gas in a clash with hundreds of stick-wielding Islamic activists outside the US Embassy in Jakarta today.

Officers beat several protesters with sticks, witnesses said, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or arrests.

The group of around 500 demonstrators scuffled with the police outside the heavily guarded embassy before the clash started, prompting officers to spray the crowd with water cannon.

The group had earlier rallied outside the United Nations building.

Anti-US protests also were held elsewhere in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous Muslim nation, today.

In the city of Makassar on Sulawasi Island, dozens of demonstrators burned a US flag and vandalised a billboard belonging to American fast food giant, McDonald’s.

They also threatened to round up and expel US citizens living in the city, 1,400 km north-east of Jakarta.

At least 2,000 persons marched through the Javenese city of Bandung, the police said.

US flags also were burned in Medan, an industrial city on Sumatra island.

In Jakarta, the US Embassy and other diplomatic missions have cautioned westerners to stay off the streets for security reasons. Some embassies also were closed yesterday.

The US Embassy remained shut today, although the British Embassy reopened. AP
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Filipino Muslims rally round Bin Laden

Marawi (Philippines), October 9
Nearly 5,000 Filipino Muslims chanted the name of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and burned the flags of the USA and Britain in a protest today against the US-led air attacks on Afghanistan.

The protesters, including religious leaders, students and local politicians, gave out a cry for jehad during the peaceful rally in Marawi city on the main southern island of Mindanao.

The Philippines’ southern Mindanao province is an area many Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic country consider their home. For decades, the country has been battling Muslim insurgents demanding an Islamic state in the south.

Muslims make up about five per cent of the Philippines’ 76 million people but live mostly in the south.

The rally saw protesters chanting the name of Bin Laden as speakers denounced the US-led air strikes on Afghanistan, whose Taliban leaders stand accused of sheltering the Saudi-born dissident whom US officials blame for the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The protest was the biggest held by local Muslim and anti-war groups in the Philippines since last month’s devastating assaults on the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon.
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Mosque meeting place for terrorists

London, October 9
A mosque in the heart of London is emerging as a hub of terrorist activities and a common link between the perpetrators of the September 11 terror strikes in the USA and Osama bin Laden, the main suspect behind the attacks, a media report said here today.

The Finsbury Park mosque is where Jerome Courtailler, alias Salman, arrested in the Netherlands for allegedly plotting to blow up the American embassy in Paris, frequently met two other militants linked to the Al-Qaida network of Bin Laden, it said.

Zacarias Moussaoui, the suspected 20th hijacker whose family, says he was “brainwashed” by Muslim extremists in Britain, also used to frequent the mosque.

French intelligence calls the capital “Londonistan” because so many Al-Qaida suspects take shelter here between trips to Afghan training camps. Courtailler (27) was arrested on September 13 in the first wave of swoops by the European police in response to the attacks on New York and Washington.

His brother David (25) was arrested for suspected links to terrorism in March, 1999, and questioned by the French police last month. The brothers were reported to have been trained in Afghanistan and used to live in Brixton, South London, with Moussaoui. PTI
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Japanese troops, supplies reach Pakistan

Islamabad, October 9
Six Japanese C-130H transport aircraft landed here today, bringing emergency supplies for refugees expected to flee us-led military attacks on Afghanistan.

The transport aircraft carried relief supplies, including 200 blankets and 315 tents as well as about 150 military personnel, marking a rare overseas deployment of Japanese troops.

The planes from Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF) landed at Islamabad’s Chaklala air force base at around 10 a.m. (IST) after a two-day trip that saw them make refuelling stops in the Philippines, Thailand and India.

It is the sixth time that Japan has deployed its forces abroad since 1945. Its troops have played non-combat roles in United Nations operations in Cambodia, Mozambique, Rwanda, the Golan Heights and East Timor.

Relief officials in Pakistan say there might be an exodus of up to 1.5 million people from Afghanistan in the wake of the launch of military strikes on the country by the USA and its allies. Reuters
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Frenchman wearing burqa held

Islamabad, October 9
Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia has arrested a Frenchman disguised in a woman’s burqa near the eastern city of Jalalabad, the AIP reported today. The Pakistan-based news agency, which has close contacts with the Taliban, said the man was with two other persons in Goshta, 35 km east of Jalalabad, when he was arrested.

“The Taliban have arrested a Frenchman, of unknown identity, accompanied by two persons,” AIP reported, adding that he had been sent to Jalalabad. In Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau said the man was not a French soldier or part of a team of special agents operating in northern Afghanistan. AFP

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Terror suspects held in Ireland

Dublin, October 9
The Irish police today said it had detained four men as part of an investigation into the “activities of international terrorist groups’’. It did not give the nationalities of the four, apart from saying that they were not Irish. Reuters

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