Wall Street Journal reporter dead: paper
Friday February 22, 6:22 AM
Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped in Pakistan, is dead, the paper reported, citing US and Pakistani officials.
"We now believe, based on reports from the U.S. State Department and police officials of the Pakistani province of Sind, that Danny Pearl was killed by his
captors," Journal Publisher Peter Kann said in a prepared statement.
"We are heartbroken at his death."
The 38-year-old reporter was kidnapped January 23 in the Pakistani port city of Karachi after going to meet with sources for a story he was working on.
Two photo e-mails, showing him in chains and with a gun pointed at his head, were later sent to news organisations demanding the release of Pakistani prisoners
from the war in Afghanistan and the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan in exchange for his freedom.
Washington and Islamabad flatly rejected the demands, and there has been no further word from Pearl's still-unknown captors.
"Danny was an outstanding colleague, a great reporter, and a dear friend of many at the Journal," Kann said.
"His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny's kidnappers claimed to believe in. They claimed to be Pakistani nationalists, but their
actions must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots."
ASEAN ministers pledge "new era" in war on terror
By Dan Eaton
Thursday February 21, 11:39 PM
PHUKET, Thailand (Reuters) - Southeast Asia announced plans on Thursday for tough new laws to crack down on terrorism and cooperate across borders to
protect its citizens from international gangs.
Foreign ministers from the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) emerged from talks on the Thai resort island of Phuket pledging "a new era" in
regional cooperation in a bid to end a growing perception of the region as a haven for militancy.
"This is a new era of ASEAN foreign ministers' cooperation. It's the era of close cooperation on anti-terrorism," Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai told
"We are very concerned there is a lot of misunderstanding of ASEAN countries, on what we have done. But perhaps we haven't done enough PR."
Philippines Foreign Minister Teofisto Guingona said his country, Indonesia and Malaysia had drafted an extra-territoriality agreement to allow the arrest of suspected
terrorists accused of violating each other's laws.
"It is in general, with Indonesia and Malaysia only (to) exchange information, intelligence and cooperation," he said.
"It is also to take positive steps to curb terrorism. A terrorist leader fleeing to one of our three countries can be detained in the country where he flees."
Surakiart said all 10 ASEAN members had acknowledged the importance of the agreement and that Thailand was planning to join later.
"We agreed in principle, so it is just a matter of looking at some of the wording so we will become the fourth country of the agreement," he said.
ASEAN, with its tiger cub economies, has been seen as a cornerstone of regional stability over the past two decades.
But that image crumbled during the 1997 to 1998 economic crisis and its focus was blurred by a rush to absorb communist Vietnam and Laos, military-ruled
Myanmar and autocratic Cambodia.
CRACKDOWN ON SUSPECTED MILITANTS
Foreign investment in ASEAN has declined in recent years with investors wary of higher political risk in a region riven by religious and political tensions.
Ethnic and separatist strife in Indonesia, as well as kidnappings and insurrection by Muslim rebels in the Philippines, have tarred the whole region, analysts say.
Singapore and Malaysia have recently rounded up suspected Muslim militants, while some of the hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks on the United
States are believed to have passed through Thailand and Malaysia last year.
The Phuket meeting is also the first by the regional bloc's top ministers since America opened a new front in its "war on terror" in the Philippines, with the arrival of
U.S. special forces to help combat militants there.
"We don't believe it is a haven (for Muslim militants), but each individual ASEAN country is sometimes projected as a haven for terrorism," said Malaysian Foreign
Minister Syed Hamid Albar.
"We discussed about what type of corrective measures we should take, what image we should project."
Singapore Foreign Minister Shanmugam Jayakumar said there was "a clear political resolve" in ASEAN to fight terrorism.
"All of us are aware that it has to be tackled at all levels," he said, adding that the informal dialogue in Phuket, at which no official statement will be made and no
agreements signed, would be followed up on at a summit in April.
He gave no further details.
Beneath the surface solidarity, ASEAN is divided, analysts say, with many members such as Vietnam and Myanmar vehemently opposed to further action of the
type the United States took in Afghanistan.
U.S. President George W. Bush's reference to North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran has unnerved many in the grouping.
But with the United States the dominant economy affecting the recovery of the region, most countries are biding their time.
"I think it is the right of the U.S. to take whatever action the U.S. feels is appropriate, but I think there should be a lot of international cooperation," said Syed
"This should not be the acts of individual countries, but (all) acting together because this is a global problem."
ASEAN ministers will meet again in the afternoon, before wrapping up their talks
US Official Confirms CIA Warning Of Afghan Civil War
Thursday February 21, 10:24 PM
WASHINGTON (AP)--The Central Intelligence Agency is warning in a classified analysis that Afghanistan could descend into civil war due to fierce competition for
power among rival warlords, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.
There is agreement within the U.S. government that the south Asian country's security could be bolstered by setting up an Afghan army, a national police force and
an effective legal system.
But there is disagreement within the U.S. government over whether to expand an international peacekeeping force, said the official, speaking on condition of
He said the State Department favored the expansion but the Pentagon was reluctant to have that step taken.
"Civil war is not eminent, but the seeds are there," the official told The Associated Press as he verified an account in Thursday's edition of The New York Times.
Even putting an Afghan military force in place could take months, while efforts to develop a police force have made little headway.
If the 4,500-strong international security force in Kabul is enlarged it could also help maintain order in other cities.
No U.S. citizens would serve in the security force.
The Pentagon's reluctance is based on the theory that expansion would take resources away from the U.S. campaign to combat terrorism around the world.
But the interim Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, urged President George W. Bush in a meeting last month that the force be expanded to other cities and some
warlords are said to be in favor of such a move.
The issue is of concern also in Britain, which has deployed 2,000 security forces in Afghanistan, straining that country's overseas force. But a U.S. decision could set
the pace for Britain and other countries.
Bush has dispatched his special envoy for Afghanistan to Kabul to meet Karzai.
Zalmay Khalilzad, who is scheduled to be in Afghanistan through Feb. 25, also will consult with other senior Afghan and U.N. officials on the ongoing war "to root
out al-Qaida and remnants of the Taliban," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said in a written statement released Thursday in Beijing, the last stop in Bush's
visit to Asia.
UK Detainees In Guantanamo May Stand Trial In UK-US Envoy
Thursday February 21, 9:24 PM
LONDON (AP)--U.K. al-Qaida suspects held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba could be sent home to stand trial, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes said
Pierre-Richard Prosper told British Broadcasting Corp. (U.BRB) radio his government would discuss the fate of U.K. nationals held at the Camp X-ray detention
center in Guantanamo Bay with Prime Minister Tony Blair's government.
Asked whether the men might stand trial in the U.K., he said: "That is still a possibility."
"I think what we are doing is we are continually engaging with the government here and having discussions on these relative issues," Prosper told the BBC during a
visit to London.
"I think when the time arises, when the circumstances are appropriate it is quite possible that you could see the detainees return here for action by the United
All the detainees at Guantanamo Bay were captured fighting with Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or with fighters of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist
Earlier this month, U.S. officials said the detainees are nationals of 31 countries, including about 50 Saudis, 30 Yemenis, 25 Pakistanis, eight Algerians, three U.K.
nationals and small numbers from Egypt, Australia, France, Russia, Belgium, Sweden and other countries.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw welcomed Prosper's comments.
"The issue of returns of foreign nationals, i.e., non-U.S. nationals, has always been one which depends on the evidence," he told the BBC.
"There are some potential crimes where it would be more appropriate to try them in their own state, others where it would be more appropriate to be dealt with by
the U.S. authorities," Straw added.
U.S. Worried About Afghan Disorder
Thu Feb 21, 4:03 PM ET
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Growing signs of instability in Afghanistan (news - web sites), where rival warlords are battling for power, threaten to propel the American
military into a bigger role in fending off chaos.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who long has argued against a U.S. peacekeeping role in Afghanistan, said for the first time Thursday that he was unsure
whether that eventually might be necessary.
He said Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, has good reason to worry about instability because rival factions still are jostling for power, al-Qaida and
Taliban fighters remain on the loose and Iran is creating trouble by spiriting weapons across the border in support of factions opposed to Karzai.
"It's not a pretty picture," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon (news - web sites) news conference.
Highlighting the problem, a U.S. official said the Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) is warning in a classified analysis that Afghanistan could descend into
civil war unless more is done soon to bring stability.
The report cites tensions between ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks in northern Afghanistan — two groups that made up much of the U.S.-supported northern alliance —
and in regions where no clear leader took power, said the U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
More-stable regions include the capital of Kabul, although even there Karzai earlier this week accused high-ranking members of his own administration of a personal
feud that led to the mob killing of the civil aviation and tourism minister at the Kabul airport last week. Karzai's Foreign Minister Abdullah, however, publicly
discounted those claims, saying the minister was killed by a crowd of would-be Islamic pilgrims angry over flight delays to Saudi Arabia.
Also in Kabul, gunmen opened fire on a British patrol and the British returned fire, a peacekeepers' spokesman said Thursday. It was the second such incident in less
than a week.
In the north, thousands of ethnic Pashtuns are fleeing, claiming that anti-Taliban commanders have been inciting people to loot their homes and, in some cases, kill
Pashtuns, a U.N. spokesman said Thursday.
An additional concern for the United States is that some anti-Taliban warlords have tried to create situations in which U.S. firepower is used against rival Afghan
forces, making it appear the U.S. military is taking sides in civil conflict.
"It's in our interests as a country to take the kinds of steps ... to assist that country in providing a more stable and secure environment," Rumsfeld said.
The goals of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, which began Oct. 7, are not only to remove the Taliban from power and exterminate the al-Qaida terrorists
who used Afghanistan as a base but also to ensure that in the long run Afghanistan does not revert to the chaos that made it a terrorist haven.
In Rumsfeld's view, it would be more logical to use U.S. troops to help Afghanistan create a national army that could provide the needed security than to use
American or other foreign forces to keep peace. He fears creating an Afghan dependence on outsiders that would limit the country's return to normalcy.
But the secretary did not rule out that up to 30,000 U.S. troops might be sent to "police the whole country" if it is determined an Afghan military cannot be created
soon enough to stop a slide into chaos.
About 4,000 U.S. troops are there now, but not as peacekeepers. They are hunting for Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) and remnants of the al-Qaida network,
supporting humanitarian relief efforts, guarding and interrogating Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners, and working with Afghan government officials on civil restoration
Rumsfeld said an assessment team is due to report on a number of options for ensuring Afghanistan's security, including the possibility of expanding an existing
international security assistance force — headed by Britain and not including any American troops — that now operates only in Kabul.
"Which way is the best way, I don't know," Rumsfeld said. "Which way is the fastest way, I don't know. What I think when we finally hear back from the assessment
team, I don't know."
He said Karzai agrees with him that it would be best to "put our effort and time and money into creating something that lives there and is going to stay there rather
than something that's temporary and is going to be pulled out at some point — with the risk of injecting instability back into equation."
"If it turns out it can't be done as rapidly or as effectively or in a way that is cost-effective, then clearly we would do something else."
Shh, It's an Open Secret: Warlords and Pedophilia
February 21, 2002
By CRAIG S. SMITH
ANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Back in the 19th century, ethnic Pashtuns fighting in Britain's colonial army sang odes talking of their longing for young boys.
Homosexuality, cloaked in the tradition of strong masculine bonds that are a hallmark of Islamic culture and are even more pronounced in southern Afghanistan's
strict, sexually segregated society, has long been a clandestine feature of life here. But pedophilia has been its curse.
Though the puritanical Taliban tried hard to erase pedophilia from male-dominated Pashtun culture, now that the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention
of Vice is gone, some people here are indulging in it once again.
"During the Taliban, being with a friend was difficult, but now it is easy again," said Ahmed Fareed, a 19- year-old man with a white shawl covering his face except
for a dark shock of hair and piercing kohl-lined eyes. Mr. Fareed should know. A shopkeeper took him as a lover when he was just 12, he said.
An interest in relationships with young boys among warlords and their militia commanders played a part in the Taliban's rise in Afghanistan. In 1994, the Taliban, then
a small army of idealistic students of the Koran, were called to rescue a boy over whom two commanders had fought. They freed the boy and the people responded
with gratitude and support.
Afghan Leader Plays Down Rifts
Thu Feb 21, 3:33 PM ET
By LOUIS MEIXLER, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - As thousands of Afghans fled hunger, drought and violence in the north, the country's interim leader moved Thursday to play down
apparent rifts in his new government. The CIA (news - web sites), meanwhile, warned the seeds are present for renewed civil war.
Thousands of ethnic Pashtuns are fleeing northern Afghanistan (news - web sites), claiming that anti-Taliban commanders have been inciting people to loot their
homes and, in some cases, kill them, said U.N. spokesman Yusuf Hassan.
The French aid organization Doctors Without Borders (news - web sites) issued an urgent appeal Thursday for more food aid in northern Afghanistan, saying
malnutrition, mortality rates and the number of displaced people are all rising sharply.
The struggle to establish order and peace in post-Taliban Afghanistan came up against a new test when gunmen opened fire on a British patrol in the capital, Kabul,
and the British returned fire, a peacekeepers' spokesman said Thursday. It was the second such incident in less than a week.
Success in the quest for stability largely depends on whether the interim government can rein in the ethnic, tribal and personal rivalries that have riveted the Central
Asian nation of 24 million people for more than two decades.
The cohesion of the government itself came into question this week after interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai accused senior members of his own administration of
assassinating aviation minister Abdul Rahman during a riot last week among would-be Islamic pilgrims at the Kabul airport.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Abdullah publicly disavowed Karzai's version of events, saying the angry mob, not government conspirators, killed Rahman. Both
Karzai and Abdullah have sought to quell media speculation of a rift inside the government.
The Cabinet is "extremely united," Karzai told Associated Press Television News.
Yet he did not back away from his initial claim of a conspiracy in Rahman's killing.
"The investigation is going on. We know who did it," he said.
In recent days about 20,000 Afghans, mostly people fleeing drought, hunger and ethnic strife, have fled to Chaman, a crossing point on the Afghan-Pakistani border,
said Hassan, the U.N. spokesman.
"It is a very disturbing picture of gross human rights violations," he said. Hassan did not give a breakdown of how many were fleeing ethnic tensions and how many
were seeking food.
The Taliban, who were ousted from power last year, were dominated by Pashtuns, Afghanistan's largest ethnic group. The U.S.-backed northern alliance was largely
Tajik and Uzbek.
People fleeing northern Afghanistan "say that commanders in those areas are instigating the locals to rob them and kill and harass the Pashtun population," Hassan
The United Nations (news - web sites) has complained to the interim government, Hassan said, but "many of those areas are areas where there is no national
Large parts of Afghanistan are controlled by local warlords. The national government has no army.
Fierce competition among rival warlords raises the prospect of renewed civil war, although probably not in the near term, according to a classified Central
Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) analysis.
The classified report said that while much of the country has been fairly stable since the Taliban's fall from power, tensions between ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks in
northern Afghanistan and in areas where no leader has emerged represent a danger, said a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Several U.S. officials familiar with the CIA report, produced this month by agency analysts, said it did not find that civil war was approaching.
"Civil war is not imminent but the seeds are there," a senior U.S. official said Thursday, confirming a New York Times report about the analysis.
In Kabul, Jonathan Turner, a spokesman for the 4,500-strong British-led peacekeeping force, said there were no reports of casualties from the Wednesday
He said British peacekeepers "had just stopped their vehicles when they were fired upon." He added that they fired back.
Last Saturday, members of the same British regiment opened fire on an Afghan car that witnesses say was carrying a pregnant woman. The peacekeepers said they
heard gunfire and fired in response. Afghan witnesses say the shooting, which killed a local man, was unprovoked.
In other developments:
_ Ten to 15 people killed in a deadly Jan. 23 commando raid conducted by U.S. special forces in Afghanistan were not al-Qaida or Taliban as first suspected,
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday. Rumsfeld defended the raid on the two compounds at Khas Uruzgan, saying the deaths occurred after U.S.
forces defended themselves when they were fired upon.
_ NATO (news - web sites) authorities who raided the Sarajevo office of the Saudi High Commissioner for Aid to Bosnia last fall found computer files containing
photographs of terrorist targets and street maps of Washington with government buildings marked, a senior U.S. official disclosed Thursday.
_ Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Thursday that Karzai will visit Turkey next month to discuss Turkey's offer to take command of the international
peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
_ In Los Angeles U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz dismissed a petition by civil rights advocates who want the Afghan detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
to be brought before a U.S. court. The judge ruled that the civil rights advocates do not have standing to bring the case, and that even if they did, no U.S. federal
court would have jurisdiction to hear it.
LA Judge Dismisses Groups Petition
Thu Feb 21, 3:17 PM ET
By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a petition by civil rights advocates who want the Afghan detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be
brought before a U.S. court.
U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz ruled that the civil rights advocates do not have standing to bring the case, and that even if they did, no U.S. federal court
would have jurisdiction to hear it.
Attorney Erwin Chemerinsky said the group would appeal.
Around 300 detainees who fought against U.S. troops in Afghanistan (news - web sites) have been brought to the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay.
The White House has said the Taliban fighters will be protected under the rules of the Geneva Conventions but will not be classified as prisoners of war. Those
linked to the al-Qaida terrorist organization will not fall into either category. But U.S. officials contend the men are being treated humanely and can practice their
The civil rights advocates — 17 clergy members, lawyers and professors — argued that the detainees should be treated as prisoners of war and said their civil rights
were being violated.
The group demanded that the government define the charges against the prisoners and bring them before a U.S. court.
The judge on Thursday agreed with the government's argument that the group has no personal connections with any of the detainees and therefore has no standing in
Government lawyers cited a 1950 U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) decision involving German prisoners seized at the end of World War II in arguing that
U.S. courts don't have jurisdiction in this case.
In the 1950 case, the court said the German prisoners could not file habeas corpus petitions in U.S. court because they were taken to an American-run prison in
occupied Germany and were at all times outside U.S. sovereign territory.
No treaty or U.S. law grants prisoners such as those being held Guantanamo the right to a lawyer. That would change if they were charged with a crime. Prisoners of
war also merit legal protections not available to the Guantanamo detainees.
On Tuesday, human rights lawyers in Washington filed a separate federal suit demanding that the U.S. District Court order the release of three of the detainees —
two Britons and an Australian.
Afghans Flee From Hunger and Fear
Thu Feb 21, 2:13 PM ET
By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent
SPINBOLDAK, Afghanistan (AP) - By the truckload and jammed into minivans, uprooted Afghans trekked southward Thursday to tent camps here in the border
wastelands, a new refugee tide escaping drought, hunger and the rampages of America's local allies in the war against the Taliban.
Aid officials saw a "revolving door" at work. Although long-term refugees from some Afghan minority groups have returned home since the conflict subsided, many
from the dominant Pashtun group, associated with the defeated Taliban, are being driven from their homes.
"They are wandering -- from Kandahar to Helmand to the border and so on," said U.N. refugee official William Sakataka, referring to provinces of southern
Afghanistan (news - web sites).
Their sad odysseys highlight the stubborn persistence of violence and humanitarian crisis in this devastated land, three months after the U.S. military, teaming up with
the largely ethnic-minority northern alliance, brought down the Taliban's hardline Islamist rule.
Here among the dun-colored tents stretching toward the Pakistani border, 340 miles southwest of the Afghan capital Kabul, one young Pashtun father longed for his
home in the north.
"If peace and stability come back to my village," said 35-year-old Ghulam Rasool, "we will go home."
Those who arrived here Thursday, down the rocky and gullied road from Kandahar, had to wrap blankets across their faces against the biting winds of a dust storm
that swept in from the southern desert. They settled into endless rows of tents hemmed in by the harsh empty hills, rough camps established by Islamic aid
In one sandblown section, 50 members of Mohammad Yar's extended family were crowded into just four of the 12-by-15-foot tents. The story told by the
30-year-old merchant, from Kunduz province, was typical of what aid officials say they have heard from other Pashtuns who lived in the north, where they were
outnumbered by Tajiks, Uzbeks and other groups.
"We came two months ago because the Uzbeks came into our village and they looted all our livestock and our farms," Yar said. "I lost 500 sheep and my clothing
shop. When I came here, all I had left was my life."
The U.N. agency, the High Commissioner for Refugees, reported Tuesday that at least 15,000 refugees had arrived in this border area in the previous 10 days.
Many are Kuchis driven by hunger — Afghan nomads whose traditional pasturelands are vanishing in a three-year-old drought gripping the country.
Since Jan. 1, at least 50,000 uprooted people have arrived here, the agency said. During the same period, it said, many more Afghans, some 143,000, returned to
their homeland after long exiles as refugees, many of them Tajiks, Uzbeks and other minority-group members who had fled Taliban rule. If this new exodus continues
at its current pace, however, those north-south numbers could be reversed, agency spokesman Kris Janowski said in Geneva.
"There's food available. The problem is distribution," Sakataka, the U.N. agency chief for this border area, said in Quetta, Pakistan. "The aid agencies are still
organizing. But, of course, these people can't wait for that. When you're hungry, you want to eat today."
Each day, dozens of desperate families, including those with illnesses, are allowed across the border and admitted into U.N. refugee camps on the Pakistan side,
which are better supplied than the private agency camps here.
The World Food Program, another U.N. agency, says it currently supplies food to 6 million people in Afghanistan, almost one-quarter of the population. But winter
snows in the uplands and the rugged terrain have made it almost impossible to reach some people with food aid. The agency has had to assemble donkey trains in
some cases to transport cereal into mountain villages.
A World Food Program emergency report last week also warned it might run out of food stocks by April, during the annual "hunger period" before the harvest.
Into this bleak picture a little rain fell late Thursday. Here in Spinboldak it was a spray of showers, wetting the dust-coated tents. But farther north, in the grain belt, a
hard rain drenched the drought-parched earth, bringing smiles to Afghan faces and hope that nature might finally lend a hand to feed their hungry land.
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