Saturday, November 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India





W O R L D


Pashtuns’ drive to make Taliban commanders surrender
Move for Loya Jirga gains momentum
Quetta (Pakistan), November 16
Ethnic Pashtuns in Pakistan are hopeful their clansmen fighting alongside Afghanistan’s Taliban militia will welcome peace missives and lay down their arms in the south. But the Taliban’s hardcore foreign fighters, and the movement’s supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, may wage war till death now that they have retreated to their southern stronghold of Kandahar.
A Northern Alliance soldier looks at a pile of weapons their troops found in a house in Kabul on Thursday. The opposition says the house served as an arsenal for the terrorist network Al-Qaida and about 5,000 firearms from three houses were found there. — AP photo



Snow geese glide in for landing on a farmer's field inside the Riefel Bird Sanctuary in Delta, British Columbia, on Thursday. Every autumn the geese migrate 5,000 km back to Canada from their summer home on Russia's Wrangel Island in Siberia. The geese will remain here and go as far south as California before making the trek back to Russia in April. — Reuters

National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

NEWS ANALYSIS
Fall of Kabul will add to Musharraf’s woes
T
HE capture of Kabul by the Northern Alliance forces on Tuesday will certainly make things more complicated for Gen Pervez Musharraf than they have been since his decision to support the United States-led international coalition against Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden and his Taliban hosts in Afghanistan. Worse, US President George Bush, who told the Alliance not to enter Kabul, expressed his happiness when the Alliance forces defied his instructions and did exactly that. General Musharraf must have been confounded.

Benazir to return to Pak soon
Lahore, November 16
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will return to Pakistan in the next few days, a spokesman for her Pakistan Peoples Party has said. “Bhutto is due to come back and she will be in Pakistan in the next few days,” said PPP spokesman Munawar Anjam, Online news agency reported.

Bush, Putin discord on ABM pact
Washington, November 16
Backing efforts to speed up creation of a post-Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan, US President George W Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin wrapped up their three-day summit in Texas with deepening of US-Russian relations but without any agreement on crucial anti-ballistic missile pact.

EARLIER STORIES

 

Jamuna (centre L) and Ganga Shrestra, Nepali twin girls whose fused heads were separated in a record four-day Singapore operation last April, pose with their grandparents on October 17, 2001, in this handout photograph. The twins are due to leave Singapore for home on Sunday after spending more than a year with their family in the city state. — Reuters

Pak, Iran can’t be part of UN force in Kabul
Islamabad, November 16
Former Afghan monarch Zahir Shah has a vital role to play in the new government in Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan’s deputy special representative has said.

Chinese devices to kill anthrax in USA
Beijing, November 16
China has developed a machine to destroy anthrax in mail and is getting ready to export four of these to the United States of America. The machine developed by Chinese scientists delivers an electronic beam, which could destroy anthrax in mail, an official newspaper reported today.

Al-Qaida planned bio-poison
London, November 16
Al-Qaida planned to manufacture the deadly biological poison, ricin, the Times of London said today. In a front-page despatch from Kabul, the paper said instructions for making the poison were found littering the cellar of an abandoned house it said had been used by Osama bin Laden’s network.

‘Alliance troops saved us’
Islamabad, November 16
Two women US aid workers rescued from an Afghan prison said their Taliban captors had professed brotherly love and offered to lay down their lives for their American “sisters.” Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry were among the eight aid workers rescued from the country. The Taliban arrested the two women last August on charges of preaching Christianity, SADA reports.

Rescued American aid workers Dayna Curry (left) and Heather Mercer talk about their experiences with the Taliban at a press conference in Islamabad on Friday. — Reuters


Dozens of Pakistani Hindu believers visit temples and illuminate their homes in Karachi to celebrate Divali.
(28k, 56k)
Afghan women in Kabul have been doing something unthinkable for the last five years — visiting a beauty salon.
(28k, 56k)

UN court upholds genocide verdict
The Hague, November 16
A former Rwandan tea factory boss who joined in the slaughter of thousands of Tutsi refugees in 1994 had his genocide verdict and life sentence upheld by U.N. appeals judges on Friday.

Schroeder wins trust vote
Berlin, November 16
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won a confidence motion in Parliament today, averting the collapse of his government and a possible early election, its Speaker, Wolfgang Thierse, said.


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Pashtuns’ drive to make Taliban commanders surrender
Move for Loya Jirga gains momentum
Michael christie

Quetta (Pakistan), November 16
Ethnic Pashtuns in Pakistan are hopeful their clansmen fighting alongside Afghanistan’s Taliban militia will welcome peace missives and lay down their arms in the south.

But the Taliban’s hardcore foreign fighters, and the movement’s supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, may wage war till death now that they have retreated to their southern stronghold of Kandahar.

They have nothing to gain by surrendering, Pashtun tribal leaders said today.

“There will be fighting in Kandahar,” said Usman Kakar, a member of the powerful Kakar tribe and a senior official of the Pashtun Khawa Milli Awami Party, which represents Pakistan’s Pashtun tribes politically. “But they cannot resist for long. All the tribal Pashtuns want a Loya Jirga so there can be peace, they don’t want more war over there,” Kakar told newsmen.

On Thursday, a group of Pashtun warlords announced they would be sending a committee of tribal elders to Kandahar to urge the Taliban to strike a peace deal.

Led by a member of the Noorsai tribe, Abdul Khalik, commanders from four Afghan provinces said they were confident they could convince the fundamentalist Islamic movement to back the establishment of a Loya Jirga, (grand council).

To be presided over by ousted former King Zahir Shah, the council would decide on a post-Taliban, multi-ethnic Afghan government.

But asked whether the Taliban would participate in a future broad-based government, Mullah Omar told the BBC this week: “We would prefer death to the government of fascists.”

The peace mission to Kandahar follows the opposition Northern Alliance’s capture in the past week of the capital and other major cities.

While the Alliance has pushed on in the north with military muscle assisted by U.S. air strikes, the ethnic majority Pashtuns have turned to traditional tribal diplomacy in the south to end the conflict.

Tribal leaders in the southwestern city of Quetta said there were already signs that some Taliban commanders were more than willing to lay down their arms after 20 years of unending war.

Leading opposition figure Hamid Karzai, a nobleman of the Popalzai tribe, says he is making progress in negotiations with Taliban warlords as he drums up support inside Afghanistan for Zahir Shah. Karzai says Taliban fighters mutinied this week to take Kandahar airport for the Opposition and there has been fighting in the city after people rebelled.

Hamid Achakzai, brother of a leader of the large Achakzai tribe, said another Loya Jirga advocate, former Kandahar Mujahideen governor Gul Agha, was on the southwestern Pakistani-Afghan border. “Gul Agha is still on the border and I have information that Taliban nearby have come to talk to him,” Achakzai told newsmen.

Mullah Omar, and his elite troops made up of Arab, Chechen, Egyptian and Pakistani fundamentalists, are another matter.

At their regular anti-American rally after Muslim prayers on Friday, Pakistani Taliban supporters vowed that Mullah Omar and his “guest”, Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, would never give up. “The Taliban will retake the areas they have lost because they are brave and do not fear death,” said Abdul Zahir, a “talib”, or religious student, in Quetta.

“There is no doubt that in the Taliban many would take up the offer to go home,” said Achakzai.

“The problem is the Arabs are there. The question is, are they (the other Taliban commanders) courageous enough to say bye-bye to the Arabs?”

Kakar said it was possible the Taliban would make a determined last stand at Kandahar long enough for the Arabs and others affiliated with Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network to escape from U.S. special forces.

“But progress is being made (in negotiations). Maybe in two or three days we’ll see some results,” he said. Reuters

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NEWS ANALYSIS
Fall of Kabul will add to Musharraf’s woes

Samuel Baid

THE capture of Kabul by the Northern Alliance forces on Tuesday will certainly make things more complicated for Gen Pervez Musharraf than they have been since his decision to support the United States-led international coalition against Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden and his Taliban hosts in Afghanistan. Worse, US President George Bush, who told the Alliance not to enter Kabul, expressed his happiness when the Alliance forces defied his instructions and did exactly that. General Musharraf must have been confounded.

The day Taliban were fleeing Kabul, General Musharraf was proudly telling his country’s newsmen in New York that his talks with French, British and now US leaders had been successful. He claimed he had convinced them of the correctness of Pakistan’s views on Afghanistan and the causes of terrorism and his country’s economic requirements. He repeatedly described his meetings with these leaders as successful. At home the official media drummed up these claims.

The gains of General Musharraf’s New York visit were: Mr Bush after a gap of about one and a half decades once again called Pakistan a strong ally. That gave Gen Musharraf a strong feeling that his country’s isolation from the international community was over. But more than that his hosts in Paris, London and now in New York received him as the President of Pakistan thus investing him with the legitimacy due to an elected Head of State. In other words, the process of transfiguration of General Musharraf from a villain of October 12,1999 — to a hero, who was now supporting the US-led war on terrorism, was complete. Also, now no Western or American writers describe Pakistan as a failed State — it is now a frontline state. The economic gain of his meeting with Mr Bush was a pledge of one billion dollar to Pakistan. Perhaps General Musharraf thought that Pakistan, under his leadership, was playing a pivotal role in the US operations in Afghanistan and therefore, Mr Bush would be only too willing to give what he demanded. But Mr Bush was not willing to oblige him beyond the $ 1 billion pledge. Pakistanis had thought that the Bush Administration would write off $ 3 billion debts and support their country’s $ 8 billion economic development programme in the next three years. There was no promise to increase imports from Pakistan. General Musharraf’s request for the release of F-16 jets was turned down.

Whatever General Musharraf may say about the success of his Afghan policy, it does not serve the US-led coalition’s objective in Afghanistan to work within the parameters of this policy. General Musharraf made it very clear on September 19 that he had decided to support the coalition so that the Northern Alliance did not take over power in Kabul.

But the fact is that the Northern Alliance played a more important role for the coalition than what Pakistan was willing to play. An article in The News described Pakistan as relatively a secondary player in the war against terrorism. Pakistan allowed its airspace and some airports to be used by the coalition but that was not considered too big a help for the enraged Americans, it said. That should explain why Mr Bush welcomed the takeover of Kabul by the Northern Alliance.

Still worse was General Musharraf’s failure to get American support to Pakistani views on Kashmir and terrorism. Mr Bush refused to condemn what General Musharraf called State terrorism. On the contrary, he told a Pakistani correspondent that his country condemned the October 1 bombing of the State Assembly building in Srinagar. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has close relations with Taliban, had claimed responsibility for this. Implicit in Mr Bush’s condemnation of the October incident was his condemnation of transborder terrorism in Kashmir which the General calls freedom struggle.

Although Mr Bush called Pakistan a strong ally and General Musharraf hoped to establish a long-standing relationship which should not end the moment Pakistan’s utility for the USA was over, it is a fact that both countries have strong reservations about each other. The people of Pakistan have a long list of grievances against the USA. Among them is Washington’s traditional support to military dictatorship in Pakistan at the cost of democracy. Another one is that they are discarded like a dirty shirt the moment the USA finds no use of them. Not only that, when Pakistan is not being treated as a Frontline State, the American Press starts a campaign of vilification against their country.

On the other hand, Americans are very much aware of Pakistan’s contribution to global terrorism in the name of Islam. Americans also know that while General Musharraf supports the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, a section of the ISI and nuclear scientists are in league with Osama and the Taliban. Also, Pakistan is still committed to the Taliban although they and Osama and his gang Al Qaida are the main targets of the US bombing. Pakistan continues to have diplomatic relations with the Taliban.

It would appear that whenever an alternative Government is formed in Afghanistan, US dependence on Pakistan would be drastically reduced.
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Benazir to return to Pak soon

Lahore, November 16
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will return to Pakistan in the next few days, a spokesman for her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has said.

“Bhutto is due to come back and she will be in Pakistan in the next few days,” said PPP spokesman Munawar Anjam, Online news agency reported.

The statement said Ms Bhutto was returning home to pull her country out of the problems it was in because of the international situation, and urged members of the PPP to prepare for a grand reception.

“She will return no matter what price she has to pay for the decision. The PPP can no longer remain silent. We have not struck any deal with the country’s military regime and the party will not compromise on its principles,” the spokesman said.. IANS
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Bush, Putin discord on ABM pact

Washington, November 16
Backing efforts to speed up creation of a post-Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan, US President George W Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin wrapped up their three-day summit in Texas with deepening of US-Russian relations but without any agreement on crucial anti-ballistic missile pact.

The two leaders “talked about the importance of getting the political arrangements (in Afghanistan) accelerated now, given the accelerating situation on the ground,” US National Security Adviser Condleeza Rice told reporters said after the conclusion of the summit yesterday.

“Both instructed their Foreign Ministers to press that point very, very hard with the UN, that with their colleagues in other places,” she said adding the Afghan issue turned out to be the “dominant issue” at the talks at Mr Bush’s 1,600 acre ranch.

One major result of the summit was a drastic reduction in strategic arms which each would carry out apparently independently. “We’re both pledging to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons, offensive weapons, we have in order to make the world more secure. We’re talking about ways to cooperate in anti-terrorism and anti-proliferation,” Mr Bush said earlier.

The two leaders, however, said they still had different views on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

Mr Bush said he believed the ABM treaty should be scrapped because it is no longer relevant to the changed relationship between the USA and Russia.

“We have a difference of opinion. But the great thing about it is our relationship is strong enough to endure this,” he said, adding that he planned to visit Russia soon, although the date had not been set.

Putin said there is “common ground” for further dialogue.

“And given the nature of the relationship between the USA and Russia, one can rest assured that whatever final solution is found, it will not threaten or put to threat the interests of both our countries and of the world. And we shall continue our discussions,” he said. PTI
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Pak, Iran can’t be part of UN force in Kabul

Islamabad, November 16
Former Afghan monarch Zahir Shah has a vital role to play in the new government in Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan’s deputy special representative has said.

Vendrell mentioned a poll conducted by officers of the U.N. special mission in Peshawar, which showed overwhelming support for the former king among newly arrived Afghan refugees, SADA reports.

Mentioning Burhanuddin Rabbani, still recognised as the head of state in Afghanistan by the U.N., even after the overthrow of his government by the Taliban, Vendrell said, “If he does return, of course he has the right to call himself the president of Afghanistan.”

Vendrell also said Pakistan and Iran did not qualify to be part of a multilateral force, under the U.N. umbrella, to keep an eye on peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India could not join the military force as they had interests in Afghanistan.

To a question about the possibility of a U.N. peacekeeping force in the country, he said: “Blue helmets mean a force to maintain peace, it is a force that does not act aggressively, that does not have a robust mandate. “There is no agreement yet to verify this and there is no peace agreement, so the issue of a classic blue helmeted force does not arise at the moment.”

Instead, he stressed on an “international security force that would be available to maintain order, help a new provisional or interim council work inside Kabul, and assist the U.N. carry out its functions in Afghanistan.”

He said the U.N. was trying to help the Afghan people set up some kind of an interim administration that would eventually lead to a provisional government, and finally to elections.

Vendrell clarified the U.N. was not trying to decide a legitimate government. “What we are trying to achieve is to help the Afghans set up a transitional body with broad representation.” IANS
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Chinese devices to kill anthrax in USA

Beijing, November 16
China has developed a machine to destroy anthrax in mail and is getting ready to export four of these to the United States of America.

The machine developed by Chinese scientists delivers an electronic beam, which could destroy anthrax in mail, an official newspaper reported today.

Manufacture of four of the machines, which will be delivered to the USA, is underway and going well, according to the Science and Technology daily.

The Chinese Academy of Atomic Energy Sciences and the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau have signed a contract to manufacture the apparatus.

This new-type electron accelerator, specially designed for killing bacteria in letters and for mail-disinfecting, is a desktop self-shielding machine which can be used in an unprotected room, the report said.

The apparatus, which is two cubic metres in size, produces a high-energy electronic beam which can kill all biological bacteria including anthrax.

Each one can disinfect 10,000 to 20,000 letters daily and is harmless to humans. Treated letters produce no radioactivity, the report said.

China has not reported any cases of anthrax attack. However, the British Embassy and two multinational companies here received packets with some powdery substance last month but the envelopes were tested harmless. PTI
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Al-Qaida planned bio-poison

London, November 16
Al-Qaida planned to manufacture the deadly biological poison, ricin, the Times of London said today.

In a front-page despatch from Kabul, the paper said instructions for making the poison were found littering the cellar of an abandoned house it said had been used by Osama bin Laden’s network.

The instructions for making ricin were concealed among scattered documents listing formulae for manufacturing explosives, fuses and detonation circuits.

The instructions read: “A certain amount, equal to a strong dose, will be able to kill an adult and a dose equal to seven seeds will kill a child.

Period of death varies from three-five days minimum, four-14 days maximum.

The paper said searches had revealed detailed plans to make nuclear bombs.

Times reporter Anthony Loyd said he found instructions in one of the abandoned houses on how to construct the bombs — although he admitted inside the newspaper they were no more than could have been expected to be held by any terror group. Reuters
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‘Alliance troops saved us’

Islamabad, November 16
Two women US aid workers rescued from an Afghan prison said their Taliban captors had professed brotherly love and offered to lay down their lives for their American “sisters.”

Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry were among the eight aid workers rescued from the country. The Taliban arrested the two women last August on charges of preaching Christianity, SADA reports.

Mercer and Curry were addressing journalists at the American Centre here on Friday.

The two worked for the charitable organisation Shelter Now International. The other six aid workers rescued include four Germans and two Australians.

While earlier reports said an American special operations group had rescued them, Curry emphasised it was a Northern Alliance commander who had stormed the prison at Ghazni.

The Taliban had moved the workers to the Ghazni prison from Kabul after the capital fell to the Northern Alliance. Curry said the doors of their prison were broken down to let the inmates out.

The first thing the women reportedly did was discarding the burqa veils they were forced to wear. Special American forces had then the workers flown to Islamabad. “Even Hollywood couldn’t have staged a better rescue operation,” Mercer said. Curry said though they had a book and movie on Jesus, they were not trying to preach Christianity.

Even the Afghan detainees in prison were reportedly praying for the USA to come to their rescue. And the first thing the men inmates did was shave off the beards they were forced to sport . IANS

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UN court upholds genocide verdict

The Hague, November 16
A former Rwandan tea factory boss who joined in the slaughter of thousands of Tutsi refugees in 1994 had his genocide verdict and life sentence upheld by U.N. appeals judges on Friday.

But the panel of five judges quashed a rape conviction against Alfred Musema (52) after hearing additional witnesses.

He was convicted in January 2000 by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Musema was found guilty on three of the nine counts against him.

“Musema was found guilty of having participated in several attacks that caused a very high number of victims,” said presiding judge Claude Jorda. Reuters

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Schroeder wins trust vote

Berlin, November 16
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won a confidence motion in Parliament today, averting the collapse of his government and a possible early election, its Speaker, Wolfgang Thierse, said.

Schroeder’s Government of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens had been on the verge of collapse because pacifist deputies from both parties said they could not support the Chancellor’s plans to mobilise up to 3,900 troops for the US-led Afghan campaign.

But rebel deputies backed down on Friday morning ahead of the vote.

The SPD and Greens theoretically have 341 votes in the 666-seat Parliament. Schroeder needed at least 334 votes to win and received 336. Reuters

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