Sunday, December 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US jets step up Kandahar blitz

About 30 civilians were killed today in Afghanistan during raids by US warplanes on a highway linking Kandahar and the border town of Spin Boldak, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported. They were killed when the vehicles they boarded came under attack, AIP said, quoting Taliban official Abdul Salam Zaeef. 

Quetta, December 1
Kandahar city came under one of the heaviest nights of bombardment yet while US planes also attacked suspected Al-Qaida hideouts in the province, a top opposition commander said today.

“The US warplanes attacked special Al-Qaida network targets in the hill areas,” Gul Lali, a key lieutenant to former Kandahar Governor Gul Agha, said.

The commander also said about 100 more US ground troops had been flown into an airstrip captured last weekend, some 20 km from the city, bringing the number up to around 1,100.

However, Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar vowed never to surrender, telling his forces it was better to die with dignity than live with humiliation, the Afghan Islamic Press quoted a Taliban official as saying.

Meanwhile, the Taliban today claimed to have killed five US special forces soldiers in a suicide attack in the Kandahar province, the Baluchistan Times reported.

The five were killed during an attack near an airstrip about 20 km out of Kandahar city, the Taliban’s commander of frontier affairs Maulvi Aminullah, told the Pakistani paper.“Five US special forces personnel were killed while eight Taliban embraced martyrdom in the attack,” Aminullah said.

With more then 1,000 US marines dug in at a desert base within striking distance of Kandhar, anti-Taliban forces were closing in on the city, with Pushtoon leader Hamid Karzai claiming to be 25 km northwest of the militia stronghold.

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban militia on Saturday claimed to have shot down a US warplane during heavy bombing of the Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan. However, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington denied the Taliban claim.

JALALABAD: A coalition bombing raid in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday destroyed a village and killed between 100 and 200 civilians, witnesses and survivors said.

A senior provincial official said the village had been bombed but thought the death toll was exaggerated. Agencies


USA for Chinese missile curbs on Pak

Washington, December 1
The September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington have added urgency to the need for halting the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weeapons that could fall into the hands of extremists.

So the USA has geared up to take on China next Friday asking it to curb missile cooperation with Pakistan, according to a senior State Department official.

US Under Secretary of State John Bolton and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya are expected to hold the most extensive senior-level non-proliferation talks between their countries since President George W Bush took office in January.

Expectations are low, however, that Washington and Beijing can reach an agreement that would justify the lifting of US sanctions that have delayed the export of American communications satellites to China.

China asked for Friday’s meeting. Bush told Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Shanghai last month that “non-proliferation is a serious issue,” another official said. ANIBack


USA keen on good Indo-Pak ties

Islamabad, December 1
The USA today said it was working out plans to help build a long-term relationship between India and Pakistan and expressed confidence about resumption of bilateral talks between the two countries during the forthcoming SAARC summit in Nepal.

US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice said the USA regarded Pakistan as a very important ally in Washington’s fight against terrorism.

In an interview to Pakistan state television and radio, Ms Rice said, “The USA not only believes that Pakistan is important to its security interests but considers it to be important to peace and security in South Asia and world.”

Ms Rice said the USA would not turn away from Pakistan after the current crisis was over. “Instead, Washington expects it to be a long-term relationship to build a prosperous Pakistan.”

She said, “the USA was prepared to help in a way to resolve the Kashmir problem between India and Pakistan.”

Ms Rice, however, declined to specify whether America would extend its missile defence system (MDS) to Islamabad. Asked whether MDS could be provided to Pakistan, she said it would be available to every peace-loving country.

Stating that the USA recently provided a grant worth $ 600 million to Pakistan, Ms Rice said the USA could do more in improving trade with Islamabad, besides helping its economy to integrate with the international one.

She said the USA would also assist Pakistan in creating right conditions for attracting foreign investment. She said the USA was careful not to impose solution on Kabul. PTI Back

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