Thursday, November 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India






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Jets pound ‘Taliban house’
USA narrows down hunt for Osama
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, November 28
US marines consolidated their position around the only remaining Taliban stronghold of Kandahar as American jets scored hits against a militia “leadership compound” in southern Afghanistan but the Taliban today claimed that their supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was safe.

Acting on specific information that the compound in Kandahar’s Dand area was being used by Taliban leadership, senior Al-Qaida cadre and the Saudi humanitarian group Wafa, US F-16 jets and B-1b bombers overnight attacked two targets with laser-guided weapons.

The strikes came as the USA said it had identified more than 40 sites in Afghanistan that could link Al-Qaida leader Oasma bin Laden with weapons of mass destruction.

Talking about the strikes, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: “Whoever was there is gonna wish they weren’t.”

Rumsfeld, who watched the attack live from the headquarters of the US Central Command in Florida, said he had no names of the leaders at the targeted facility but stated that they were of “appreciable” importance.

Former Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said “Omar is safe and sound. He has not been hurt nor any other Taliban leader.”

The USA said it had narrowed down its hunt for Bin Laden in two Afghan towns of Jalalabad and Kandahar but Zaeef said Taliban did not know the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted fugitive.

In another development, officials from the International Committee for the Red Cross were allowed inside the Qala-e-Jhange fort near Mazar-e-Sharif after an uprising by surrendered Taliban foreign fighters, including Pakistanis and Arabs, was crushed by Northern Alliance with the support of US and British special forces.

Scores of disfigured and dismembered corpses were strewn around the fort, a BBC correspondent reported. PTI

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4 Pak nationals detained
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
The Israeli security agencies have detained four Pakistani nationals who are alleged to have links with Al-Qaida network of Osama bin Laden, well-placed sources disclosed here today.

The incident assumes significance in view of the ongoing international military offensive against the Al-Qaida network and also puts Islamabad in a tight spot.

The four Pakistanis were picked up last week by the Israeli navy and police following intelligence reports that a ship carrying Pakistani nationals, sailing under the Maltese flag was heading towards the Haifa port in Israel.

The Israeli security forces assisted by the navy tracked down the ship and arrested the four Pakistanis who were interrogated by the intelligence agencies. However, one of them has been released.

The sources quoted preliminary reports as saying that the Pakistanis wanted to enter Israel for meeting certain people for launching terrorist attacks to avenge America’s military action in Afghanistan.

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