Police say U.S. military plane fired on in Pakistan
Wednesday February 27, 2:04 AM
JACOBABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Gunmen fired on a U.S. military plane as it came in to land on Tuesday at a Pakistan airfield used as a U.S. logistics base for
the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, a police spokesman said.
No shots, thought to be from an anti-aircraft gun, hit the aircraft and there was no damage or casualties, the spokesman told Reuters.
"Eight people have been arrested about 30 km (20 miles) from the base," police spokesman Iqbal Ahmad said.
The shots were fired at about 7:45 p.m. (1445 GMT).
Ahmad said security had been sharply stepped up around the Pakistani air force Shahbaz airbase in Jacobabad, about 430 km (270 miles) north of Karachi.
There was no immediate identification of the type of plane, but Amad said it appeared to be a C-130 transport aircraft, or something similar, rather than an attack
On October 14, about a week after the United States started bombing Afghanistan as part of its war to oust the hardline Taliban regime, thousands of protesters
besieged the base to protest at the presence of U.S. forces.
The Taliban was targeted for sheltering Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden, the chief suspect for the September 11 attacks on the United States.
In the October protest, at least one person, the son of a leading local cleric, was killed and at least 12 people wounded.
Pakistan, as part of its pledge to offer the United States non-combat logistical support for raids on Afghanistan, has allowed U.S. forces to use several of its
Britain irritated by Rumsfeld's prisoner comment
Wednesday February 27, 1:04 AM
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain bristled on Tuesday at suggestions from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that it might "simply turn loose" British nationals
captured in Afghanistan and being held in Cuba if they were sent home.
But Home Secretary David Blunkett also insisted that the detainees were entitled to due judicial process.
"It is not appropriate to make a judgment about what we do with someone before they have been charged, never mind afterwards," Blunkett told BBC radio.
He had not spoken to Rumsfeld about the comments, but said he had no doubt that "my other colleagues in the cabinet who deal with him will be seeking
clarification, as I will from the (U.S.) Attorney General John Ashcroft."
Rumsfeld said at the weekend that Britain must prosecute any Britons returned home from detention at the U.S. base in Cuba "rather than simply turning them loose,
putting them back out on the streets and having them go get more aeroplanes and flying into the Pentagon and World Trade Center again".
Blunkett said it appeared Rumsfeld was "not aware" that Britain has a Crown Prosecution Service, under which evidence had to be examined before anyone could
be detained or charged.
"The Crown Prosecution Service has to examine the evidence that is being presented against them, and that is what we will do," he said.
"If anyone is transferred to this country it will be on the evidence -- in this case the evidence that the United States has deduced from picking up them up in
The United States is holding about 300 foreigners captured during the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan at a high-security military camp at Guantanamo Bay,
Five of the detainees are reported to be Britons.
Washington says they are suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network or of Afghanistan's Taliban.
Images of detainees shackled and on their knees at the Camp X-Ray base have sparked concern around the world, but Britain, Washington's staunchest ally in the
global coalition against terror, has declined to criticise Washington's actions.
The United States has not classified the captives as prisoners of war, a label which carries specific rights under the Geneva Conventions. It has said some could be
tried before a military tribunal
US presses Pakistan to extradite Pearl kidnapper
Wednesday February 27, 12:29 AM
The United States pressed Pakistan to extradite the confessed mastermind behind the abduction of American journalist Daniel Pearl, as Afghanistan's interim leader
Hamid Karzai arrived in India to hold talks on his ravaged country's reconstruction.
Karzai arrived for two days of talks after a report said former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef -- whose release from US custody was a demand
of Pearl's abductors -- would soon be freed.
The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press did not name sources but said US authorities had decided to release the diplomat, who was reportedly taken aboard the
USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, after extensive interrogation.
The United States had hoped Zaeef would be able to help it find elusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and September 11 terror suspect Osama bin
Pakistani police meanwhile continued their search for the remains of Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl as the US ambassador to Pakistan spoke with President
Pervez Musharraf about extraditing Sheikh Omar, who told a court February 14 that he had arranged the journalist's kidnapping.
Omar was remanded Monday to two more weeks of police custody. He appeared again in court Tuesday where he was identified by a witness who said he had set
up a meeting between Omar and Pearl, who disappeared working on a story January 23.
The United States has said it is interested in gaining custody of Omar, also wanted over the 1994 kidnapping of an American along with three Britons in 1994.
US and Pakistani officials would not say how Musharraf responded when Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin raised Omar's potential extradition.
The two countries do not have an extradition treaty, but Pakistan extradited two suspects wanted in 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and
outside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters near Washington.
Winding up his visit to Iran, Karzai rejected US charges Tehran was meddling in Afghanistan and working to destabilize the new administration.
Karzai was to hold talks later Tuesday with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh followed by an evening address to captains of Indian industry to seek their
cooperation in rebuilding his country.
He is also due to meet Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Wednesday, before holding bilateral talks with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw who will be in
New Delhi on a one-day visit.
In Kabul, the first unit of Afghanistan's army held its second day of formal training under the eye of European military officers, but provincial officials complained that
the force was being organised without consultation or adequate planning.
In the broader US war on terrorism, local forces have clashed with Abu Sayyaf gunmen on the southern Philippine island of Basilan, where US commandos are
advising Filipino troops fighting the Muslim rebels.
And in Europe, a bomb exploded overnight outside the Italian interior ministry as two US State Department security experts arrived in Italy, following the discovery
of a possible terrorist plot involving a breach in a utility tunnel near the Rome embassy compound.
The crude explosive device -- believed to have been attached to a scooter parked on the sidewalk behind some trash cans -- had the power to cause serious
devastation, police said.
The bombing damaged five cars, burned two scooters and blew out the windows of several stores and buildings in the via Palermo.
Newspaper says bin Laden may have been duped by swindlers
Tuesday February 26, 9:41 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An analysis of suspected radioactive substances seized in Afghanistan has found nothing to prove that Osama bin Laden reached his goal
of acquiring nuclear materials for a bomb, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing administration officials.
The government's analysis of suspicious canisters, computer discs and documents suggests that bin Laden and al Qaeda may have been duped by black-market
weapons swindlers selling crude containers hand-painted with skulls and crossbones and perhaps dipped in medical waste, the Times reported.
More than 110 sites, including government buildings, military compounds and caves in Afghanistan have been searched for clues about al Qaeda's plans and
development of advanced terror weapons, the Times said.
U.S. intelligence officers and Special Forces found three containers with contents worrisome enough to be shipped back for detailed analysis, but no significant
amount of radioactive material was found in them, the Times said.
Officials said it was impossible to broadly assert that al Qaeda has no nuclear material, the Times said.
American officials also disclosed that the United States has yet to find evidence that al Qaeda was able to create a chemical or biological weapon at any of its
camps, command centres or caves in Afghanistan, the Times said
U.S. attack on Iraq would slam stocks in short term
By Chelsea Emery Wednesday February 27, 5:17 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investor jitters about possible U.S. military action in Iraq are weighing on the stock market and prompting big price swings.
A rumour that U.S. special forces had landed in Iraq -- later denied by a Pentagon spokesman -- swept through trading desks on Tuesday and contributed to a
It was the second time in a week the U.S. military had to calm jittery financial markets by denying such a rumour. Last Thursday, the Pentagon denied a similar
rumour that moved prices in the energy and metals markets, and sent oil prices and oil stocks higher.
"The vast majority of the financial community, and the general populace, believes there is going to be military action in another country" than Afghanistan, said Tony
Maramarco, manager of the Babson Value Fund. "The initial reaction would be a down-tick in the market because the market doesn't like uncertainty and this would
be uncertainty with a capital "U."
Speculation has grown that Iraq is the next U.S. target in the war on terror after President George W. Bush described the country last month as part of an "axis of
evil" with Iran and North Korea.
Bush accused the three countries of developing weapons of mass destruction and supporting international terrorism. He said action will be needed if they threaten the
To be sure, there is no evidence the United States has troops in Iraq and the Pentagon has steadfastly denied it. Investors Reuters spoke with said they have not
bought or sold stocks on a belief the United States will move troops into Iraq.
WALL STREET ON EDGE
At the same time, though, they say such a move would slam stocks in the short term, because Wall Street is on edge after accounting-related bankruptcies, profit
shortfalls, terror attacks and the lagging U.S. economy.
"We are in a fragile market and people have been severely burned," said Cummins Catherwood, who helps oversee $750 million at fund management firm
Rutherford Brown & Catherwood.
"Although it's against my grain, we have had to be much more aggressive about how we handle our affairs. I am doing much more short-term activity than I ever have
The main worry is that military action in the region could hurt oil supply and raise oil prices, which could in turn boost costs for businesses and consumers, investors
Some sort of military action "is expected," said David Memmott, head of listed block trading for Morgan Stanley. "The real concern in the market place is how our
oil situation will be affected. Will the price go to $50 a barrel?"
Currently, NYMEX crude is quoted at $20.83 a barrel.
Other jitters that could hurt stocks short term include the possible loss of U.S. lives, and whether other nations would help defray the costs of any military
undertaking, traders and fund managers said.
The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled to a session low of 10,034, a drop of 112 points and a downward swing of more than 150 points in mid-morning trading
on Tuesday, as rumours swirled throughout Wall Street. The market recovered partially, but remained in the red, after the Pentagon denied that there were troops in
"It certainly was the rumour that was the cause of it getting knocked down in a heartbeat and when they denied it, we recovered about 60 points in a heartbeat," said
Ned Collins, head of trading at Daiwa Securities America.
A bigger-than-expected drop in consumer confidence in February also hurt stocks, traders said.
The Philadelphia Stock Exchange oil service index surged 3.9 on February 21 after the U.S. Defense Department's fuel buying wing said it was seeking to buy an
additional 1.5 million barrels of A-1 jet fuel for U.S. bases in the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oil prices rose on speculation U.S. troops were in
Iraq. The U.S. military denied the rumours.
U.S. planes regularly patrol no-fly zones established over north and south Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War aimed at preventing President Saddam Hussein from
attacking minority groups in his own country. When threatened by ground defences, they have frequently attacked artillery and rocket bases.
Pakistan considering US request to hand over Pearl abductor
Wednesday February 27, 4:48 AM(AFP)
Pakistan said it was reviewing US requests to extradite Sheikh Omar, the British-born confessed mastermind of slain US reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction.
"Pakistan has received a request for the extradition of Sheikh Omar from the United States. It is reviewing it and the response will follow," a Pakistani government
spokesman told AFP.
Washington stepped up the pressure for extradition Tuesday on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who met with US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin and
spoke by telephone with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"The United States will continue to make its case to Pakistan. Pakistan has received the case well," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who cautioned
against expecting "instant resolution" to the situation.
No Pakistani official would say how Musharraf responded to the US request, but one noted that Islamabad has agreed to extradition in the past.
"Although there is no formal extradition treaty between the United States and Pakistan, there are two precedents when Pakistan extradited terrorists wanted by the
United States," the official said.
Pakistan extradited to the US suspects in the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and outside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters near
Omar admitted in court on February 14 he had masterminded the Wall Street Journal correspondent's abduction. He also said that the reporter was dead, which
was confirmed a week later when a grisly video surfaced of Pearl's slaying.
Omar, who was born in 1973 in London, appeared again Tuesday in court, where a magistrate heard from a witness who said he had arranged a meeting between
the militant and Pearl, who disappeared January 23 while researching a story about Islamic radicals.
The court appearance was necessary for any potential charges to be filed against Omar, who on Monday was ordered remanded in police custody for another two
weeks as police seek evidence.
"We have 14 more days to find the clue from the killers and to recover the remains of Pearl," a senior police investigator told AFP.
He also said investigators would examine the video of Pearl's slaying "very minutely".
Police are still searching for Pearl's remains and for seven fugitives described in court Monday, including Amjad Hussain Farooqi, who allegedly drove Pearl from a
Karachi hotel on his way to meet a contact for his story.
An investigator said Farooqi had been an instructor at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan but returned to Pakistan after the Taliban was ousted from power.
US officials have said they believe a treaty signed in 1931 by Washington and local authorities in what was then part of the British empire remains valid.
Islamabad has allowed US forces to take into custody an unknown number of Pakistanis from Afghanistan who were allegedly linked to the Taliban or al-Qaeda.
But the extradition of Omar could be more complicated, as Musharraf has acknowledged Pearl's abduction may be part of the backlash against his crackdown on
Musharraf vowed after Pearl's killing to "liquidate terrorists" from Pakistan.
Omar, whose full name is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was wanted by the United States even before Pearl's abduction over the kidnapping of an American in India
Omar spent five years in an Indian jail for the kidnapping, in which three Britons were also snatched. He was released in December 1999 in exchange for passengers
on a hijacked Indian Airlines plane.
Pearl's widow Mariane, who is seven months pregnant with the couple's first child, said in an interview aired Tuesday she will tell her son his father was "a hero."
"I can tell my son, yes, he was brutally and cowardly murdered, but the ultimate objective of these people never reached its goal," she told CNN.
"The goal of terrorism is to inflict terror on people," she said. "I know Danny has not been defeated."
Hardline Afghan warlord flees home in Iran
Tuesday February 26, 11:28 PM
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Hardline Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has left his home-in-exile in Tehran after being told by the Iranian government to leave the
country, the official IRNA news agency said on Tuesday.
Hekmatyar's opposition to Hamid Karzai's interim government in Afghanistan has been something of an embarrassment to Iran which has been at pains to show its
support for the new administration.
Karzai ended a landmark three-day visit to Iran on Tuesday in which the two neighbouring countries pledged to cooperate to help foster peace and stability in the
"A few days ago a decision on the necessity of Hekmatyar's leaving Iran was delivered to him," IRNA quoted an informed source as saying.
"Afterwards Hekmatyar left his residence to an unknown destination and it is still unclear where he has gone and where he is living now," the source said.
The former anti-Soviet mujahideen commander, fled to Iran in 1996 when the Taliban took control of Kabul.
It was unclear where Hekmatyar would be able to go. An Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Monday that Hekmatyar would be arrested and tried
for war crimes if he returned home.
Pakistan, once Hekmatyar's main backer in fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, is also unlikely to accept the warlord back and other
neighbouring countries would be equally unwilling.
Analysts say Iraq would be his most likely destination.
Iran closed the offices of Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami (Islamic Party) earlier this year after the former warlord said he was opposed Afghanistan's interim government
and had organised forces in Afghanistan to fight foreign troops there
Special Summary Of The War On Terrorism
Tuesday February 26, 8:00 AM(AFP)
Role Of US Troops In Afghanistan May Be Redefined
U.S. troops in Afghanistan are taking on more jobs that look like peacekeeping and nation-building: They're repairing hospitals, schools and waterworks. They set
up a medical school. They're going to help train an Afghan army.
Soon, U.S. military advisers may be sent to prevent clashes among feuding warlords, which would give evidence of deepening U.S. involvement despite the Bush
administration's reluctance to engage in peacekeeping.
US Gen Franks: Jan Raid Mistake Was Firing At US Troops
The mistake in a January raid in which U.S. forces killed 16 Afghans was made by those who fired on the U.S. troops, the war's U.S. commander said Monday.
U.S. investigators have determined that those killed and the 27 captured in the raid in the town of Uruzgan weren't members of the al-Qaida terrorist network or
their Taliban patrons. But Pentagon officials have resisted saying the nighttime raid itself was a blunder.
US Rights Groups File Petition For Guantanamo Prisoners
Three U.S. human rights organizations filed a petition Monday to protect prisoners of the war in Afghanistan, calling the terms of their detention here illegal.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School and the Center for Justice and International Law - all based in New York
City - challenged the detentions in a petition filed to the Organization of American States' Inter (Singapore: IRES.SI - news)-American Commission on Human
Families Of 1993 Bombing Victims Included In WTC Planning
Families of the six victims killed in the 1993 attack at the World Trade Center will have a voice in the group formed after Sept. 11 to coordinate redevelopment of
the trade center site and creation of a memorial to the victims.
The appointment to the family advisory council of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. came Monday - one day before the ninth anniversary of the first
terrorist attack at the trade center.
Afghan Leader Lauds Iran Support In Anti-Terror War
Despite U.S. accusations Iran was seeking to destabilize Afghanistan, interim leader Hamid Karzai on Monday praised Iran's contribution in helping Afghans get rid
of Soviet occupation and terrorists.
"We will never forget your support of the Afghan nation's struggle against the former Soviet Union and later against terrorists," Karzai said in a speech to the Iranian
Majlis, or parliament, on the second day of his first official visit here.
Bush Presented With Bullhorn He Used At WTC Ground Zero
President George W. Bush was presented Monday with the bullhorn he used during his visit to the World Trade Center ruins after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush said the bullhorn will go on display in a father-and-son exhibit at his father's presidential library at Texas A&M University.
U.S. Cheney: Never More Confident Of Victory Over Terrorism
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, returning to the Wyoming Legislature where he began his political career as an intern, told lawmakers Monday that the Sept. 11
terrorists "picked the wrong target" and that he has never been more confident of victory.
Speaking to a joint session of the Wyoming House and Senate, the state's top leaders, legislators' relatives and staff, Cheney talked of how his career was shaped by
his work as a 24-year-old intern in the Wyoming State Capitol in 1965, and how he remembered meeting a freshman legislator named Al Simpson.
Afghan Opium Harvest Expected To Go On Despite Govt Ban
The government of Helmand province, the biggest opium-growing region in the world, will allow this year's poppy crop to bloom and be harvested because
Afghanistan's new regime is too weak to stop it, a key provincial official said Monday.
"This year we're not able to destroy the crops. If we try to enforce a ban on the farmers, it wouldn't be good for us," said Haji Pir Mohammed, top deputy to the
FBI Still Has No Prime Suspect In Anthrax Investigation
Months after anthrax-tainted letters killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others, the FBI said Monday that its investigators do not have a prime suspect
despite conducting hundreds of interviews in the case.
"There is no prime suspect in this case at this time," spokesman Bill Carter said.
Fleischer Says Govt Focusing On Several Anthrax Suspects
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Monday there are several suspects in the anthrax mystery being solved by government investigators and the FBI hasn't
narrowed that list down to one.
"I wish it were that easy and that simple right now," he said.
President Bush wants the case resolved quickly, Fleischer said, but also wants the FBI to take its time and "build a case that would stand in court, that is thorough,
that is conclusive."
U.S. Rumsfeld Asks Review Of New Tactical Deception Office
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has asked Pentagon officials to determine whether an office that reportedly has proposed spreading false information should
be shut down.
"I am always very, very concerned about our credibility," spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told reporters Monday when asked about Rumsfeld's views on the new
Office of Strategic Influence.
Clarke said Rumsfeld has asked a top Pentagon official in charge of the office "to take a very, very hard look at it" and determine "should it even exist."
Afghan Official Says Ex-Warlord Hekmatyar Is War Criminal
An Afghan official said Monday that former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a "war criminal" and would be treated accordingly if he returns to Afghanistan.
"He will be treated as a war criminal if he decides to return," Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Samad told The Associated Press Monday.
Earlier this month, Iran closed Hekmatyar's offices in Iran, apparently as part of diplomatic efforts to ease growing tension with the U.S.
Suspects In Pearl Murder Still Held; Charges Delayed
Three Islamic militants believed to have participated in the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl appeared in court Monday and were
ordered jailed for two more weeks while prosecutors develop their case.
The Wall Street Journal is owned by Dow Jones & Co. (DJ), which publishes this and other newswires.
The accused had been expected to face murder and kidnapping charges. But in a closed door hearing, the judge delayed the charges to give police more time to
interrogate the suspects and recover Pearl's body, said Raja Quereshi, the chief prosecutor. He said police also wanted more time to find the weapons used to kill
U.S. Envoy: To Raise Pearl Suspect Handover With Musharraf
The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan said Monday that she will meet Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday and will discuss the extradition of a key suspect
in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pear.
Interviewed on CBS's "Early Show," Wendy Chamberlin expressed confidence that the killers of Pearl would be brought to justice.
U.S. Congressman:Europe Should Do More In Anti-terror Fight
A U.S. congressman visiting Hungary Monday, urged Europe and other U.S. allies to carry a heavier burden in the fight against terrorism.
Hungarian-born Representative Tom Lantos, a Californian who is the senior Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, also said the attempts by
some European countries to apply a policy of appeasement with rogue regimes were "distressing" and could have disastrous consequences.
(To find all of the stories on the War on Terrorism, search N/911.)
Gunmen attack Pakistani mosque
Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 18:30 GMT(BBC)
President Musharraf recently banned sectarian violence
Gunmen have opened fire on a mosque in the northern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, killing at least 10 people.
We are determined to wipe out this terrorism from Pakistan and will continue to make our best efforts
Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani
Rawalpindi's police chief Marwat Ali Shah told AFP news agency that about a dozen people were injured in the attack on a group of Shia worshippers outside the
Pakistan's Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani told the BBC's Urdu Service that the shooting appeared to be sectarian in nature.
Police officer Nazir Ahmad told the AFP that three gunmen drove past the mosque in the Pir Wadahi area, spraying worshippers with bullets.
It was the first major attack of this kind since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced a crackdown on Islamic extremist and sectarian groups last month.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in the past decade in sectarian violence in Pakistan, where Sunni Muslims form the majority.
Thousands have died in sectarian violence
Shias make up about 20% of the population.
Mr Noorani reiterated the government's firm resolve to deal with sectarian violence.
"We are determined to wipe out this terrorism from Pakistan and will continue to make our best efforts," he told AFP.
"This government will do whatever needs to be done to prevent such attacks and bring the culprits to justice," he added.
The authorities in Pakistan launched a crackdown on sectarian groups after a ban on five militant groups was announced by President Musharraf last month.
Afghan leader arrives in India
The Afghan leader is on a diplomatic charm offensive
Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:55 GMT By Satish Jacob BBC correspondent in Delhi
Hamid Karzai, the head of Afghanistan's interim administration, has arrived in Delhi on his first visit to India since taking charge in Kabul.
The last time Mr Karzai was in India was more than three decades ago when he was a student in the northern Indian city of Simla.
Hindi films are popular in Afghanistan
This time, he brings along a high-powered delegation, including 12 ministers.
The delegation includes Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and other key ministers from planning, information, rehabilitation and reconstruction, commerce and
other areas where Afghanistan has been seeking India's help.
Mr Karzai will brief Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the efforts under way for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Mr Karzai has to strike a balance on his trips
He will also tell him precisely what Afghanistan needs from India.
Although Mr Karzai's first diplomatic stop in the Indian sub-continent was Pakistan, in Afghanistan's view, India is a very special friend.
The Afghan Ambassador in Delhi, Masood Khalili, says India is a large country in the region and will look forward to developing a meaningful relationship with New
Apart from a team of Indian doctors stationed in Kabul for the last three months, a delegation of Indian businessmen has also visited Afghanistan with an eye on
Mr Karzai can expect the red carpet treatment in Delhi.
But the Indian government is expected to make it clear that the Afghans should not allow Pakistan to intervene in their internal affairs.
Peacekeepers Train Afghan Police
Tue Feb 26, 5:06 PM ET By KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer
The top brass of Kabul's new police force got their first lesson in fighting street crime Tuesday with a mock demonstration by international peacekeepers. But they're
missing a few key crimefighting tools — from pens to police cars.
Training of the 3,600-member force begins in earnest in March. Tuesday's initial instruction at a cavernous warehouse on the outskirts of Kabul was meant to show a
few of the department's leaders what is expected of them.
"We hope they will be interested in what they see and it will trickle down to the policemen," said British Flight Lt. Tony Marshall, a spokesman for the peacekeepers.
Some trainees have been riding around with the peacekeepers for more than a month, just observing. But training the underequipped, underfunded Afghan men to
fight crime on their own in the war-battered capital is a daunting task.
A working police force is considered key to establishing the credibility of the government of interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.
So far, the issue of resources has been challenging. Police in Kabul didn't even have pens and paper to take notes at crime scenes until they were given them by
peacekeepers. Pursuing criminals has been difficult since the force has no cars. For the moment, police are using bicycles supplied by peacekeepers.
Germany plans to donate eight vehicles for the new police force, and Britain is sending communications equipment.
"They are extremely well-motivated, but they lack the resources," Marshall said.
Tuesday's mock crime scene was acted out by about a dozen international soldiers. A man lay beside a car, seemingly shot in the head. A woman screamed: "Help
me! Help me! A man is dead!"
The woman was frantic — but the international police were calm, professional and thorough.
The demonstration was conducted by peacekeepers from Britain, Italy, Germany, and France. The German forces will be largely responsible for teaching the
rank-and-file police once training gets under way next month.
Kabul Police Chief Bazeer Salanghi is a former commander in the northern alliance, the military force that seized Kabul last November after U.S. and British
bombing sent the Taliban regime fleeing south.
Northern alliance soldiers briefly took over the capital, but agreed to cede control after a U.N.-brokered agreement established Karzai's interim administration.
The accord dictated that the alliance soldiers be replaced by a new police force. Many of the 3,600 men are simply former northern alliance soldiers wearing new
Salanghi, for instance, brought 500 of his men into the police force, said Mohammed Rasoul, a policeman who used to fight under the northern alliance commander.
Brig. Barney White-Spunner, chief of the multinational brigade in Kabul, said many of the senior officers are police veterans trained in the 1970s by Germany before
Afghanistan (news - web sites) was invaded by the Soviets in 1979, opening two decades of Afghan wars.
"There is a real effort by the Afghans to develop a strong police force," said White-Spunner.
The crime simulation followed the opening Monday of a boot camp set up to train 600 men — the vanguard of a new national army. Defense Minister Mohammed
Fahim has said he eventually wants a standing army of no more than 200,000 men.
In other developments:
_ Karzai met with Indian officials in New Delhi to press for international help rebuilding his country, and Afghan Finance Minister Hidayat Amin Arsala said his nation
hoped that nuclear rivals India and Pakistan could resolve their dispute over Kashmir (news - web sites) — saying peace in the region was impossible without that
_Karzai ended a three-day visit to Iran, saying that no U.S. rhetoric would influence his government's resolve to improve ties with his neighbor.
_Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was told to leave the Iranian capital, the Iranian news agency reported Tuesday. Hekmatyar had apparently left his
home, but his exact whereabouts were not known. On Monday, an Afghan official said Hekmatyar would be treated as a war criminal if he returns to Afghanistan.
Afghan Leader Asks for Indian Help
Tue Feb 26, 2:20 PM ET
By NIRMALA GEORGE, Associated Press Writer
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - Afghan interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai Tuesday asked India to help his war-ravaged country to quickly reconstruct its
infrastructure and revive its economy, destroyed from decades of fighting.
Rebuilding educational, health and communication facilities, reconstruction of infrastructure and creating a financial and legal system were among his government's
priorities, Karzai said.
"We need roads and bridges to reach provinces and borders, to collect revenues, taxes and customs duties. With this we can pay salaries and begin the effective
revitalization of the Afghan administration," Karzai told a crowded meeting organized by Indian business and industry federations.
However, after three decades of bitter conflict, getting people to give up their weapons and rebuild was a challenge, he said.
"The reconstruction of roads and highways is extremely labor intensive and provides an opportunity to the Afghan people to throw away their guns and earn a living
by working hard," he said.
Karzai arrived in the Indian capital on Tuesday and immediately held an hour-long talk with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh about possible Indian assistance.
Indian entrepreneurs have shown interest in Afghanistan (news - web sites), where they could share expertise in information technology, and experience in building
bridges and roads in difficult terrain.
Mohammed Norzai, Afghanistan's minister of small industries, visited India in January, seeking assistance from Indian construction companies. The national airline,
Ariana Afghan Airlines, made its first international flight since 1999 to India, but no direct service has been established.
Many of Karzai's interim Cabinet members have already visited India, where the Afghan government that was ousted by the Taliban continued to be recognized
during the five years of militia rule, and the embassy in New Delhi remained in the hands of those affiliated with the Northern Alliance.
Those leaders dominate Karzai's administration and view India as a loyal friend.
Karzai was expected to brief Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday about rehabilitation efforts.
Within days after the Taliban militia fled the Afghan capital, India announced it would reopen its embassy in Kabul, send a million tons of wheat in emergency aid and
extend a credit line of $100 million for reconstruction.
Afghanistan has also sought India's aid in creating a new police force, setting up courts and prisons, and forming an integrated army from different ethnic groups,
Kabul's ambassador to India, Masood Khalili, said
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