Saturday, December 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

W O R L D

Burhanuddin Rabbani 200 foreign peacekeepers sufficient : Rabbani
Favours govt by election

Kabul, November 30
Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani has said only around 200 foreign peacekeepers are needed to provide security in Afghanistan for leaders returning from exile.

WINDOW ON PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s crumbling Afghan policy
A
FGHANISTAN is perhaps a jinxed land for Pakistanis. Ever since instability enveloped Afghanistan over two decades ago, Pakistanis have made several moves to find a firm foothold in their difficult neighbourhood dotted with mountains, and every time they have come back humiliated.

A Romanian AIDS-infected child enters a room from a hostel located in Vidra (20km south Bucharest) in this December 2000 file picture. UNICEF said Romania has around 5,000 children with full-blown AIDS and some 4,000 tested HIV-positive. United Nation's World AIDS Day is observed on December 1. — Reuters


Mourners cry over the body of Elishad Ahayov at his funeral near Tel Aviv on Friday. Ahayov was one of the three Israelis who were killed by a suicide bomber on a bus near Hadera the previous night.
— Reuters

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

 

 

Predators to track Osama
Washington, November 30
The USA is using every hi-tech device available to the Pentagon to track down Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders.

Sharif kin sent back to Riyadh
Islamabad, November 30
Two days after their dramatic return to Pakistan, authorities have sent back deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif’s relatives to Saudi Arabia amid tight security.

Ex-Beatle Harrison dead
London, November 30
Former Beatle George Harrison has died in Los Angeles at the age of 58 after a long battle against cancer, a family friend said today.

George Harrison, who died on Thursday, shown in this April 1995 file photo performing at a concert in London. — AP

Lanka not to lift ban on LTTE
Colombo, November 30
The Sri Lankan Government has ruled out lifting a proscription on Tamil Tiger separatists, saying that their assertion that they would settle for autonomy instead of full independence could not be believed.

 

EARLIER STORIES

  UN extends Iraq’s oil-for-food plan
United Nations, November 30
Determined to improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the UN Security Council has voted unanimously to extend the UN “oil-for-food” programme for a period of 180 days, beginning December 1.
Videos
The Northern Alliance has said it would let human rights group Amnesty International investigate the deaths of several pro-Taliban foreign fighters who staged a revolt near Mazar-i-Sharif.
(28k, 56k)
US Navy Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem has released a video of recent US air strikes on targets near Kandahar in Afghanistan.
(28k, 56k)


Top




 

200 foreign peacekeepers sufficient : Rabbani
Favours govt by election

Kabul, November 30
Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani has said only around 200 foreign peacekeepers are needed to provide security in Afghanistan for leaders returning from exile.

He told a news conference today that an interim government must be chosen by popular election.

It would be possible for Afghan leaders returning from exile, after more than two decades of war, to have up to 200 foreign peacekeepers for their protection, he said.

“This force would be used to maintain their security as far as they wanted,” he said.

“Those who want it could have around 100 to 200, a little bit more than that. That is practical but more than that is not needed,” he said, referring to security concerns voiced by some leaders meeting in Bonn this week to try to chart a path to peace and a new government.

In terms of an interim government, Mr Rabbani said popular elections were essential.

“The people who are planning to be the leaders of the country should be elected by the people,” he said.

“The leadership council and the members of the government should be elected based on the votes of the people... Apart from this it would not be acceptable.” he said, adding that the elections could be organised in as little as two months.

ISLAMABAD : A suspected leader of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network, captured by anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan, will soon be handed over for questioning to the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism, a spokesman said.

Coalition spokesman Kenton Keith, confirming comments by a senior U.S. official in Washington, said the Northern Alliance had seized the alleged Al-Qaida recruiter Ahmad Omar Abdel-Rahman.

The 35-year-old Abdel-Rahman is a son of blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, who with nine other militants was convicted on charges stemming from a deadly car bombing of New York’s World Trade Center in 1993.

Meanwhile, Iran has opposed moves to deploy foreign troops in Afghanistan saying it could prove to be counter-productive.

“We have rejected the idea of deploying foreign troops in Afghanistan because of its highly sensitive nature,” Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi has said.

Mr Kharazi’s comments follow reports of intense pressure being applied by the international community on the pro-Iran Northern Alliance to accept a multi-national force in Afghanistan in the current round of UN-sponsored talks in Bonn to form an interim government.

Soon after his arrival he had a lengthy talks with his Pakistani counterpart Abdul Sattar and is also scheduled to meet President Pervez Musharraf before his departure today.

Mr Kharazi while admitting differences between Iran and Pakistan over Taliban in the past saw no divergence between the views of the two countries for setting up a broad-based government in kabul. Reuters, PTI

Top

 

WINDOW ON PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s crumbling Afghan policy
Syed Nooruzzaman

AFGHANISTAN is perhaps a jinxed land for Pakistanis. Ever since instability enveloped Afghanistan over two decades ago, Pakistanis have made several moves to find a firm foothold in their difficult neighbourhood dotted with mountains, and every time they have come back humiliated. The latest is the reversal of their policy vis-a-vis the decimated Taliban regime, a creation of Pakistan’s own intelligence network, the notorious ISI. Islamabad had expected that after the US-led war on terrorism was over, it would be in a position to influence the setting up of a new and unhostile regime in Kabul with the blessings of Uncle Sam. However, its hopes dashed to the ground the day the Northern Alliance (now rechristened the United Front) captured Kabul, ignoring Pakistan-inspired warning from the international coalition that there should be no troop movement towards the Afghan capital till a framework for a “broad-based government” was finalised. America quietly approved of the Alliance action, indirectly telling Pakistan that the days of the Taliban were over, and Islamabad could no longer dictate terms in Afghanistan.

As a result, Pakistan’s military regime is upset, but under the circumstances it cannot gather courage to express its displeasure forcefully to the angry super power. The ruling General had indicated to his countrymen that the action against the Taliban would be short-lived, and the ISI would be able to wean away a section of the discredited Afghan militia from Mullah Omar to join hands with Pakistan and help form a new government in Kabul to the satisfaction of the international community. In that situation, Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani’s Northern Alliance, an anti-Pakistani coalition of minority groups, could have been allowed an insignificant share in the administrative cake. The expected split in the Taliban militia, however, never came about.

A disappointed General Musharraf has now created what is called the Peshawar Group to represent the majority Pashtuns. The emergence of this group has, however, not impacted the role the Northern Alliance is destined to play. Hence Islamabad’s efforts to mend fences with Professor Rabbani. The General is an expert in taking a U-turn as he demonstrated while disowning the Taliban. He is trying another policy shift in the case of the Alliance. After all, Mr Rabbani is a former Pakistani friend-turned-foe. Pakistan, with the help of the USA, had played a major role in the formation of the Rabbani-led Mujahideen government in the early nineties after the ouster of the Soviet forces from Kabul. But Pakistanis should not forget that they added to the difficulties of the then Kabul regime when it started feeling shaky with the local warlords refusing to function according to its dictates.

Pakistan first promoted Mr Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord with a major Pashtun base heading an outfit named Hizb-e-Islami. He was, however, abandoned like an undependable child when Mullah Omar emerged on the scene with his army of students from religious schools (madarsas). The new outfit was named the Taliban with its umbilical cord to Islamabad. The Taliban grew into a formidable force within a short period because of the militia’s indoctrinated recruits from religious schools and established control over 90 per cent of Afghanistan in 1996.

Pakistan, however, never warned the Taliban leadership that their extremist postures would lead their poor country to ruin. Rather it encouraged the Taliban to go ahead with their ill-thought-out agenda, telling them, as we hear in India, “charh ja beta sooli par Ram bhala kare ga”. And when the Taliban found themselves in the jaws of death, their Pakistani godfather left them in the lurch, saying that this was the only choice available to Islamabad in view of its own interests.

Thus, Pakistan can go to any extent to placate the Northern Alliance to establish a cosy relationship with it. If success is achieved on this front, General Musharraf may have at least three advantages.

One, his ISI will now be in a position to misguide the Alliance leadership to maintain a “safe distance” from India-Pakistan’s top priority.

Two, the public will take his claim seriously that Islamabad has learnt from its past mistakes and decided not to keep all its eggs in one Afghan basket, as suggested by many newspaper columnists and other thinkers.

Three, with King Zahir Shah being well disposed towards Pakistan and the Northern Alliance having shed its hostility, the General will be better placed to assuage the hurt feelings of Pakistanis at the initial turn of events in Kabul. But all this is nothing more than a conjecture so long as the ground reality remains what it is. One thing is, however, certain: those known for taking a 180-degree turn time and again are never regarded as dependable well-wishers.
Top

 

Predators to track Osama

Washington, November 30
The USA is using every hi-tech device available to the Pentagon to track down Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaida and Taliban leaders.

The tools the Pentagon has resorted to in Afghanistan include sophisticated sensing devices that can detect people or objects by penetrating through the ground, foliage, bad weather and darkness, according to Pentagon officials.

The devices operate by detecting motion, heat, electronic signals, magnetic fields and more. One of these, called Predator, is being flown in Afghanistan armed not only with sensors but also with Hellfire missiles. Predator has a chance to find Bin Laden and could perhaps direct ground forces to capture him. IANS

Top

 

Sharif kin sent back to Riyadh
Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad, November 30
Two days after their dramatic return to Pakistan, authorities have sent back deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif’s relatives to Saudi Arabia amid tight security.

Sharif’s brother and former Punjab province Governor Shahbaz Sharif’s wife, Begum Nusrat Shahbaz, and two daughters boarded a Jeddah-bound flight from Lahore airport on Thursday evening.

Nusrat and her daughters were part of an 18-member Sharif family group, including Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz, who were exiled to Saudi Arabia in December 2000 by President Pervez Musharraf’s regime.

Nusrat has been quoted in the media as saying the military “rulers were merciless and did not allow me even to attend my ailing parents. I have no association with politics. Why have they done this to me?”

The Sharif family was reportedly exiled after a Saudi government-brokered agreement that binds the Sharif family not to return to Pakistan for 10 years. Though the family has always denied the deal’s existence, they recently claimed their compulsory stay period in Saudi Arabia — two years — had expired and Nawaz Sharif would fly out of the country soon.

Reports in Pakistani papers had suggested Nusrat Shahbaz’s return to Pakistan two days back was part of an alleged deal struck between the military government and Nawaz Sharif’s family.

Reports also suggest Nawaz Sharif may leave Saudi Arabia and settle in London. “I cannot say if there is any such decision by my uncle,” said Hamza. IANS
Top

 

Ex-Beatle Harrison dead

London, November 30
Former Beatle George Harrison has died in Los Angeles at the age of 58 after a long battle against cancer, a family friend said today.

Long-time family friend Gavin De Becker said: “He died with one thought in mind — love one another.” He died at a friend’s home. His wife Olivia and son Dhani were at his side.

Beatle author Philip Hunter said: “Another Beatle gone. It’s an awful thought — the group were an entity in people’s lives.

“He was overshadowed by Lennon and McCartney and he was never really happy about that. There was a certain bitterness about him, but later in life he realised what good fortune he enjoyed,’’ he said.

The youngest member of the world’s most famous pop group will always be remembered for his devotion to Oriental mysticism. It was he who persuaded the other Beatles to fly to India.

The group conquered the world with 27 number one hits in the USA and Britain.

Harrison, also known as “The Quiet Beatle,’’ was just 27 when the band split in 1970. The star was treated for cancer in 1997 after he found a lump in his neck. He also had surgery for lung cancer in 2001 and was reportedly treated at a Swiss clinic for a brain tumour.

When Harrison first disclosed that he had been treated for throat cancer, he said: “It reminds you that anything can happen.’’

As well as his recent struggle with cancer, Harrison’s life was also threatened when he was stabbed by an intruder at his English country home in 1999.

Fellow pop star Bob Geldof said of Harrison: “He wasn’t a reluctant Beatle. He knew that his place in popular culture was absolutely secure.

Harrison’s biographer Alan Clayson said: “He was stabbed in the lung, at around the time he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It had a psychological effect on him. Reuters
Top

 

Lanka not to lift ban on LTTE

Colombo, November 30
The Sri Lankan Government has ruled out lifting a proscription on Tamil Tiger separatists, saying that their assertion that they would settle for autonomy instead of full independence could not be believed.

Urban Development Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government would not lift the three-year-old ban despite its chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, announcing on Tuesday that his struggle was neither “separatism” nor “terrorism.” IANS

Top

 

UN extends Iraq’s oil-for-food plan

United Nations, November 30
Determined to improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the UN Security Council has voted unanimously to extend the UN “oil-for-food” programme for a period of 180 days, beginning December 1.

The programme authorises Iraq to sell petroleum to generate resources for importing food, medicine and other essentials to help Iraqi civilians affected by the 11-year old sanctions against the country, SADA reported. IANS

Top

 

17 Asian nations to check corruption

Tokyo, November 30
Seventeen Asian nations, including today India, adopted a legally non-binding plan to fight corruption, which they said was widespread in the region and hampered economic growth and poverty reduction efforts.

The plan advocates civil service, private business and public awareness action designed to help halt the supply and demand for bribery in publicly-funded projects. AFP

Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |