Sunday, November 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India

M A I N   N E W S

83 fleeing Harkat ultras held

Islamabad, November 17
Amid reports of mass exodus of foreign fighters from Taliban camps, Pakistani border police today arrested 83 Harkat-ul-Mujahideen ultras, who were attempting to return after deserting the disintegrating militia in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

The Harkat-ul militants who went to join the Taliban reportedly fought along with the militia in Kabul, until many in the militia suddenly fled from the city a few days ago.

Reports reaching from the Pakistan border town of Miran Shah said the Pakistan-based jehad group which went to fight in support of Taliban and chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden were arrested by the frontier cops when they tried to enter through the Boya checkpost.

Officials said this was the first batch of militants who after deserting the Taliban ranks returned to Pakistan. 

The government has already denied that a number of Taliban cadres had already sneaked into Pakistan. PTI



Bomb factory survives missile attack

London, November 17
The Al-Qaida bomb and chemical factory located within the safe precincts of a mud plastered wall in Darunta in Afghanistan survived cruise missile attacks and evaded detection by the world’s most sophisticated intelligence services.

Inside the filthy net curtain hanging from the doorway lies what appears to be the paraphernalia of a sociopathic alchemist: rows of dirty bottles and tubes filled with bottles of hazardous chemicals, The Times reported today.

Some, including cyanide and sulphuric acid, are labelled in Arabic. They are scattered among phials, gas masks and detector paper for chemical agents.

There are also indications of a British link among the long-gone Arabs, with papers obtained by The Times including money-transfer documents in pounds sterling from the Habib Bank AG Zurich in London’s Moorgate to a Karachi bank account, and a set of industrial earplugs priced at £ 2.51 next to unexploded landmines tossed casually inside the door.

On one shelf lies a thick printout of bomb-making instructions in English. These, apparently copied from the Internet or other bomb-making manuals, include minutely detailed instructions for “poor man’s TNT” and “tea-leaves used in bomb making”, with egg whites used in the production of jellied-gasoline incendiaries.

The site was reportedly hit in the first wave of cruise missile strikes on October 7.

The chief bomb-maker, a Saudi doctor known as Abu Khabab, clearly, however, had his own intelligence sources. The report quoted villagers saying that Khabab left with many of his Arab followers the day before the strike.

The stout red-bearded doctor, who lived in the tiny riverside hamlet for nearly a decade, struck fear among the villagers. They never spoke to him and none dared enter the anonymous walled compound where Arabs came and went day and night.

“No-one went there. They were training people how to make bombs,” said Nazir Mohammed (35), a local villager.

Villagers said Khabab manufactured most of his devices in a railway-carriage style metal transport container beside the Kabul River. It now lies shattered and upturned after a direct US hit.

In Taliban times, nearly 300 Arabs lived in huts around the hilltops, which were fortified by artillery positions overlooking the river and surrounding valley, which are a key strategic approach to Jalalabad and Kabul itself. PTI


Sinha plan to starve terrorists of funds

Ottawa, November 18
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha today suggested a seven-point action plan, including freezing of assets and curbing informal money transactions, to choke funds for terrorists.

Addressing the meeting of G-20 finance ministers called to discuss ways to cut off terrorist funds, Mr Sinha said the plan should include prompt action to immobilise assets of terrorists and a close watch over suspect transactions of individuals and organisations.

Checks have to be imposed on informal money transactions either for laundering or financing of terror and to identify front organisations and other individuals through banking and other financial channels under the principle of ‘know thy customer’, he said.

There should be collection, collation and analysis of information among the countries with a view to identifying any links between these funds with terrorism.

The Finance Minister said countries where such funds might have originated from or destined to or being sued in transit must exchange information and intelligence.

He called for immediate ratification and implementation of the relevant UN resolutions and instruments, including the setting up of legislative mechanisms by all countries.

The G-20 countries Finance Ministers’ meeting has been convened to set international standards for stopping terrorist funds and help developing countries. PTIBack

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