December 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India
Karzai vows to end rule of gun
Al-Qaida men, 8 Pak troops die in clash
Al-Qaida tapes found
Battle brings dollars to Tora
UN sets up fund for Afghan interim government
LTTE declares month-long truce
Karzai vows to end rule of gun
Rome, December 19
“I am very, very determined... Terrorism has made our people suffer unbelievably difficult times,” he said in a late-night interview in Rome with Reuters Television.
Speaking at a hotel in the Italian capital soon after he had received the encouragement of Afghanistan’s exiled former king, Mr Karzai also said he would be happy with a foreign peacekeeping force of any size necessary to be beneficial to his country.
“They have killed us,” he said of the ousted Taliban and their foreign allies in Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida network.
“They have destroyed our orchards. They have destroyed our vineyards. They tried to destroy Afghanistan.”
“They tried to destroy the essence of Afghans. I am determined to get rid of them, not only in Afghanistan but in the rest of the world too.”
Shortly before, Mr Karzai had received the blessing and the personal Quran of the former king, Mohammad Zahir Shah.
“That was a tremendous, good gesture and a very good blessing,” Mr Karzai said.
He said he was not daunted by the challenge of trying to unify Afghanistan, where many of the groups that ousted the hardline Taliban from power were bitter foes of the past.
Memories are still fresh of the ethnic conflict of the early 1990s, when street battles between rival warlords, Tajiks and Hazaras, Uzbeks and Pashtuns, reduced much of Kabul to rubble.
Mr Karzai said he hoped there could be agreement on the size of an international peacekeeping force, adding that he would accept “any number that makes the task feasible, the task beneficial”.
However, he also stressed: “There is total agreement by all concerned that Afghanistan must have a national army that should be totally under the control of the Ministry of Defence and a national police force under the total control of the Interior Ministry.”
“Warlordism must end and the rule of the gun must end in Afghanistan and the Afghan people must be able to choose their destiny themselves and have their government chosen themselves.”
Mr Karzai was asked what he would tell Bin Laden if he were in the same room with the Saudi militant whom Washington has blamed for the September attacks against the USA.
7 Al-Qaida men, 8 Pak troops die in clash
Peshawar, December 19
The Pakistani army and paramilitary frontier forces were transporting a number of captives, mainly Arabs who had escaped from eastern Afghanistan, from a detention centre in the border town of Parachinar in the Kurram tribal agency, the official said.
Local administration officials said the Al-Qaida fighters snatched arms from their guards while they were being moved from the town.
Seven Arab prisoners, seven paramilitary troops and a Pakistan army soldier were killed in the clash, the officials said.
Pakistani troops, some on horseback, others dropped by helicopter on inaccessible hilltops, have boosted border patrols to block the entry of Osama bin Laden and capture his fleeing Al-Qaida fighters, a report from Chaman said.
The number of Al-Qaida fighters taken into prison while crossing from Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan into the Kurram tribal agency alone had reached 39, a local official said today.
Eight of the fugitives were arrested late on Sunday, the official told Reuters.
Border patrols had arrested 31 suspected Al-Qaida fleeing the Tora Bora mountains, scene of a last-ditch battle into the weekend by diehard fighters loyal to Bin Laden, at the weekend, the official said. Most were Yemenis.
The eight newest captives, from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco and Sudan, had been moved to an unknown location, the official said.
It was unclear if they had been placed in the custody of US special forces who may want to interrogate them about the whereabouts of Bin Laden, wanted for masterminding the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The suspected Al-Qaida members were trying to enter Pakistani territory through the Zeran Tangi gorge from Tora Bora, opposite the Kurram tribal area of which Parachinar town is an administrative centre.
The official in Parachinar said an unknown number of Al-Qaida fighters had moved from hideouts in Tora Bora and were heading towards the Pakistani border. He declined to give further details, but said Pakistan was ready to apprehend them.
More Al-Qaida tapes found
Washington, December 19
The disclosure followed the US Government’s release of a videotape last week showing Bin Laden laughing and boasting about the September 11 attacks.
The Bush administration yesterday said the tape sealed Bin Laden’s guilt as the mastermind behind the attacks on the USA that killed nearly 3,300 persons.
Administration officials declined to comment on what fleeing Al-Qaida fighters might have left behind. But Mr Bush told House and Senate leaders at their White House meeting that “more tapes and more information was found in the caves,’’ according to a congressional aide. Another source confirmed that tapes were among the items collected.
Battle brings dollars to Tora Bora!
Tora Bora, (Afghanistan), December 19
Lots of dollars. And the locals have not been slow to take advantage.
Journalists descending on the little village of Tora Bora behind the front line find themselves in a primitive place unchanged for hundreds of years.
Houses are built of mud, the only running water is a stream and there are no lavatories.
One six-strong international media team was living in a single, unlit, unheated room (20 x 10 ft). The price? $ 400 a night, and that was a bargain negotiated down from $ 500.
Need to rent a pick-up truck with no suspension and a cracked windscreen? A snip at $ 250 a day. Do not speak Pashto and need an interpreter? Another $ 250 a day.
Living in Afghanistan does not come cheap.
Since the September 11 attacks on the USA, journalists in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries on earth, have got used to paying grossly inflated prices for rudimentary services. But there is a new twist in Tora Bora.
Local commanders, perhaps fearful of the departure of the media circus now that the fight against Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida is winding up, are starting to sell information.
Authorities refused access to some newly captured Al-Qaida prisoners this week amid reports they had agreed a deal with one media company to give them exclusive coverage.
Some say the price was $ 2,000, others say $ 5,000. No one really knows.
And with the roads to the front line closed to reporters, mujahideen fighters — tribal holy warriors — are doing a nice line in offering to take television cameras up to the front and then selling the footage back to them.
UN sets up fund for Afghan interim government
United Nations, December 19
Money from the Afghan Interim Authority fund would be channelled towards building infrastructure and administrative expenditure for the interim government to start functioning and for payment of salaries.
Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Fund Julia Taft said, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown had organised the fund at the behest of Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan.
She said the fund, which would accept contributions from governments, non-governmental institutions and the private sector reflects the intention of global actors to see a strong, sustainable government in place in Kabul. The UNDP would need to spend around $ 6,00,000 to provide office equipment and supplies.
Ms Taft said no solid figures were available though a budget of around $ 3 million would be set aside for education.
Ranil to revive peace process
Colombo, December 19
Briefing his new Cabinet yesterday on his plans to revive dormant peace efforts, Mr Wickremesinghe said a consultative committee would be set up to advise him on a political solution to the North-East conflict, while another panel would look into preparatory work for negotiations.
A third committee would look for alternative solutions, an official statement on the briefing said here today.
Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando has denied a remark attributed to him that the government wanted the LTTE to lay down arms as a precondition to peace talks. “The government is prepared for unconditional talks. We are more concerned about the core issue,” he said.
In his Cabinet meeting, Mr Wickremesinghe said he would meet the government agent of the northern Vavuniya district before discussing further measures with President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
The idea of meeting the Vavuniya district authorities is an indication that the new government wants to understand the ground situation in the war-torn North, where the movement of goods is severely restricted to prevent supplies from falling into the hands of the LTTE.
His new Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Minister Jayalath Jayawardena said the government was considering a plan to lift the embargo on items, including food the medicine, reaching LTTE-held areas. Travel and residential restrictions on the Tamil community would also be withdrawn, he added.
LTTE declares month-long truce Colombo, December 19 LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran “has issued orders to all units and combat formations of Tamil Liberation army to cease all hostile military actions against the Sri Lankan armed forces from midnight December 24 till midnight January 24, 2002,” a statement from LTTE headquarters said.
Colombo, December 19
LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran “has issued orders to all units and combat formations of Tamil Liberation army to cease all hostile military actions against the Sri Lankan armed forces from midnight December 24 till midnight January 24, 2002,” a statement from LTTE headquarters said.
|| 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 |