Monday, January 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


M A I N   N E W S

Hizbul commander among 10 shot
Tribune News Service

Hizbul Mujahideen's company commander
Body of a Hizbul Mujahideen's company commander, Mohammad Amin Bhat, being taken for burial. — PTI photo 

Srinagar, January 6
At least ten militants were killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday while the security forces recovered large quantities of arms and ammunition during search operations.

Three militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in an encounter with the BSF near Chadoora in Budgam district of central Kashmir early today. Those killed were Mohammad Amin Bhat, company commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Nazir Lalli and Samad Sheikh, all residents of the same area. The police, however, confirmed the death of only two militants, Mohammad Amin Bhat and Nazir Lalli.

A BSF spokesman told newspersons here today that the troops recovered one AK rifle, six AK magazines, 40 rounds of AK ammunition, one pistol, a wireless set, five IEDs, two hand grenades and some incriminating documents.

The spokesman said the troops of 171 Bn, BSF, carried out the search operation on the basis of a specific information. The troops were fired upon by the hiding militants at about 4.45 a.m., which led to the encounter. The encounter continued for over two hours leading to the killing of the militants.

The killings sparked tension as villagers alleged three unarmed residents had been killed by the security forces after arresting them. They demanded an enquiry into it.

An ambush party of the security forces killed a militant at the Mattan chowk in Anantnag district yesterday, the police here said. One AK rifle and some ammunition was recovered from the slain militant.

In another operation, a patrol party of the Army and SOG killed a militant in the jungle area of Sogam in Kupwara district of North Kashmir yesterday. The incident took place when the patrol party was fired upon by the hiding militants in the area. One RPG, three RPG rounds, five RPG grenades, 10 RPG boosters, six UBGL, two hand grenades, one magazine, 30 AK rounds of ammunition and a wireless set were recovered from the site of the encounter.

Three LeT ultras were killed in a gunbattle with the security forces in the Kalaban forest belt in Poonch, official sources said.

The slain militants were Nassir Mujahid, Afrid Bhai and Abu Mujahid, they said, adding that the gunfight erupted during search operations by the Army troops in the area. In another gunfight in the Chingus belt of Rajouri, two unidentified militants were killed, the sources said.Back


Taliban envoy detained, Omar at large

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef
Former Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, is seen in Islamabad in this October 23, 2001 file photo. — Reuters photo

Washington/Kandhar, January 6
The US military took into custody the former Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan even as its primary targets, Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama bin Laden, eluded Afghan and US forces.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban’s principal spokesman during the war in Afghanistan and the vanquished movement’s highest-ranking official to be captured, joined hundreds of detainees facing interrogation by US officials seeking intelligence for their war on terrorism.

But Mullah Omar, the reclusive cleric who once ruled over almost all of Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, accused by Washington of plotting the September 11 attacks that killed some 3,000 people, remained at large.

According to a report from the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, Mullah Omar escaped on a motor cycle as anti-Taliban forces closed in on a mountainous area in southern Afghanistan where he was believed to be hiding.

Three months after USA went to war in response to the attacks on New York and Washington, President George W. Bush led the country in mourning the loss of Sgt 1st class Nathan Ross Chapman, the first US soldier killed by enemy fire.

The new US Envoy to Kabul, Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, said the US bombing campaign, launched on October 7, would not end until its aims were met, despite concern among Afghanistans new anti-Taliban leaders at civilian casualties in recent strikes.

“We’re making steady progress in Afghanistan,” Mr Bush said during a speech in California.

Mr Zaeef, a bespectacled 34-year-old ethnic Pashtun who had sought political asylum in Pakistan after that country broke-off diplomatic ties with the Taliban, was deported back to his home country and immediately detained by the US forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry would not say whether he was handed over to US-led forces in Afghanistan, where he became one of 307 Taliban and Al-Qaeda members being interrogated by the US military.

The US forces have also taken custody of Ibn Al-Shaykh Al-Libi, who ran some of Bin Laden’s training camps. ReutersBack

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