Special Summary Of The War On Terrorism
Thursday March 21, 5:45 AM
Leaders of the U.S. Pacific and European commands said Wednesday the war on terrorism has overtaxed troops and equipment, leaving dangerous shortages that
ultimately could hurt Americans.
The commanders were asked if they had enough forces to carry out all current operations as well as possible military action against Iraq, and their answers were
"very troubling," said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., who asked the question.
US Cmdr In Afghanistan Praises Russia's Cooperation
Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, praised Russia for its cooperation in the anti-terrorist campaign, but indicated
Wednesday that Russia's contribution was unlikely for now to go beyond providing humanitarian assistance.
Franks held talks in Moscow on Wednesday with Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov and at the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which has coordinated
Russia's humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan.
US Genl: Al-Qaida, Taliban Try To Regroup In Afghanistan
The battlefield commander in Operation Anaconda said Wednesday that al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, fueled by a fresh influx of cash, are trying to regroup in
eastern Afghanistan despite the just-concluded U.S. offensive there.
Citing intelligence data, Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck said local al-Qaida leaders are trying to rebuild their forces in Paktia province, site of Operation Anaconda, the
biggest U.S.-led offensive of the Afghan war and a longtime Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold.
Military Accident In NY Kills 1 Soldier, Hurts 14
Two high-explosive artillery shells fired during a training exercise fell short Wednesday and exploded near a mess tent where soldiers were eating breakfast. One
soldier was killed and 14 were injured.
The soldiers were where they were supposed to be and had almost no warning, said a spokesman for the 10th Mountain Division.
New US Interviews To Focus On People From Mideast -CNN
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced plans Wednesday for interviews with some 3,000 foreign nationals, and the Cable News Network reported most
of these people are from Middle Eastern countries.
According to CNN, those to be questioned, ranging in age from 18 to 46, came to the U.S. after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Saddam: US Policy On Iraq Weapons Like Flash Gordon Movie
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein launched a new attack on U.S. policy makers Wednesday, accusing them of conjuring up stories in a bid to justify potential military
strikes on Iraq.
Saddam's latest barbs came in a speech to government officials broadcast by the official Iraqi News Agency, radio stations and television late Wednesday.
US Raids In Virginia, Georgia Target Terrorist Financing
Federal law enforcement authorities raided businesses and homes in Virginia and Georgia on Wednesday as part of an effort to cut terrorists off from their sources of
The Customs Service said that 14 search warrants were used for locations in northern Virginia and one warrant was served in Georgia. No one was arrested.
Pentagon Finds GPS Unit Tied To Somalia In Afghanistan
U.S. forces searching al-Qaida strongholds in the Shah-e-Kot region following Operation Anaconda have found a Global Position System unit that they believe likely
belonged to Special Forces Master Sergeant Gary Gordon who was killed in Somalia in 1993, Brig. Gen. John Rosa Jr. said.
Gordon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in the Mogadishu firefight in which 18 U.S. servicemen were killed.
U.S. Tells U.N. Human Rights Body To Not Get Involved In War
The U.S. came off the sidelines Wednesday to tell the U.N.'s top human rights body to stick to its own concerns and not get involved in the war against terrorism.
"However characterized, terrorism is best addressed directly by states and in the appropriate UN fora that deal with terrorism," U.S. Ambassador Kevin Moley told
the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Exiled Afghan King Meets With US Ambassador In Italy
The U.S. Ambassador to Italy met for tea with the exiled king of Afghanistan on Wednesday, wishing the former monarch well in his return to the war-battered
nation after years abroad.
U.S. Ambassador Mel Sembler, during the meeting at his residence, told Mohammad Zaher Shah that "he hoped the former king's presence would help bring peace
and stability to his homeland as it recovers from more than 20 years of war," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
Pakistan Probing Possible Al-Qaida Links In Terrorism
Pakistani security agencies are exploring possible al-Qaida links to a recent wave of terrorist strikes in major cities, including a grenade attack on a church in the
capital Islamabad that killed five people, the government said Wednesday.
Information Minister Nisar Memon said the government has identified some groups that could be responsible for the church attack and plans a massive crackdown
on religious extremists. He refused to give further details.
(To find all of the stories on the War on Terrorism, search N/911.)
Pakistan Probing Possible Al-Qaida Links In Terrorism
Thursday March 21, 12:05 AM
DJ Pakistan Probing Possible Al-Qaida Links In Terrorism
ISLAMABAD (AP)--Pakistani security agencies are exploring possible al-Qaida links to a recent wave of terrorist strikes in major cities, including a grenade attack
on a church in the capital Islamabad that killed five people, the government said Wednesday.
Information Minister Nisar Memon said the government has identified some groups that could be responsible for the church attack and plans a massive crackdown
on religious extremists. He refused to give further details.
"The attacks could be a possible reaction of Pakistan's decision to join the international coalition against terrorism," Memon said at a news conference. "Obviously
the terrorists won't like a whole country turning against their activities."
The remarks came three days after a lone terrorist hurled hand grenades into the Protestant International Church, which was packed with worshippers for the
Sunday's morning service. The attacked killed five people, including two Americans, an Afghan, a Pakistani and an unidentified person who may have been the
Forty-five people, most of them foreigners, were also injured.
The assault prompted the U.S. State Department to warn Americans against traveling to Pakistan - a key ally of the U.S.-led coalition in war against terrorism in
neighboring Afghanistan. The warning said that the "terrorists may seek civilian targets."
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the church attack, which occurred at one of Pakistan's most heavily guarded neighborhoods.
"The reasons for terrorism could be internal, regional or international," Memon said.
Several Pakistani militant groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of Mohammed, and Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, or Movement of Holy Warriors, had close
links to al-Qaida and operated training camps in Afghanistan before the collapse of the Taliban.
Many members of those groups fled back to Pakistan after the Taliban regime fell in December after relentless U.S. airstrikes and ground attacks by the Afghan
opposition's northern alliance.
Religiously motivated violence has increased throughout Pakistan since President Pervez Musharraf banned five extremist groups in January.
The kidnap-slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in January is also widely seen here as part of an extremist campaign to undercut the Musharraf
government. Four people have been arrested in connection with Pearl's killing.
The Wall Street Journal is published by Dow Jones & Co. (DJ), which publishes this and other newswires.
Musharraf Orders Crackdown; No Sympathy For Terrorists
Thousands of Pakistani members of militant groups affiliated with al-Qaida have returned to Pakistan since the U.S.-led military offensive drove the Taliban from
power in neighboring Afghanistan late last year.
Memon said the government's resolve to fight terrorism remains strong.
On Wednesday, Musharraf chaired his weekly meeting of his Cabinet, and Memon said law and order remains high on the agenda.
Musharraf has said that terrorists deserve no sympathy, and he ordered security forces to launch a swift crackdown, Memon said.
The president has ordered a revamping of intelligence institutions, greater vigilance, improvement in investigations, effective prosecution of cases and the imposition of
the death penalty.
Under tough anti-terrorism laws that Pakistan has introduced, terrorists and those who assist them could be given the death sentence.
On Tuesday, two days after the church attack, the government fired Islamabad's police chief and four other senior police officials for negligence. The Cabinet also
plans to reform the police to effectively fight crime and terrorism, Memon said.
The shake-up came as police said they would send the U.S. DNA samples from the body of a man they suspect has carried out the attack.
Pakistan has asked the U.S. and Japan for modern equipment, forensic labs and training for its investigators and security agencies, he said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher had said the U.S. was sending a team of agents from the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security
to help with the investigation.
American dead from Pakistan attack to be sent home
By John O'Callaghan
Wednesday March 20, 6:08 PM
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The bodies of two Americans killed in a weekend grenade attack on a church in Pakistan's capital will be flown home on Wednesday
after a memorial service, a U.S. diplomat said.
Barbara Green and her daughter Kristen were among five people killed in a hail of shrapnel from half a dozen blasts while worshipping at the Protestant International
Church in Islamabad on Sunday.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but the spotlight is on hardline Islamic groups opposed to Pakistan's support for the U.S.-led war on terror and its
crackdown on Muslim militants.
A Pakistani and an Afghan were also killed but suspicion is growing the fifth body may be that of the grenade-lobbing attacker as no one has claimed the unidentified
and mangled corpse.
A memorial service for the two dead women, the wife and daughter of a U.S. diplomat, will be held at the heavily fortified U.S. mission on Wednesday afternoon
before the bodies are flown out.
"They'll be leaving tonight," the U.S. diplomat told Reuters.
Media have been barred from the service and the departure of the bodies at the family's request, he said.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christina Rocca flew to Pakistan from India on Monday, saying she would accompany the bodies home. But the U.S. diplomat
said he could not confirm those arrangements.
Forty-two people from various countries were wounded but hospital officials said all were out of danger.
President Pervez Musharraf, who expressed "dismay" on Monday at the security lapse at the church in Islambad's diplomatic quarter, on Tuesday relieved the
capital's most senior police officers of their posts at a meeting of senior officials.
Commentators said the violence in one of Pakistan's most protected areas had hurt Musharraf's credibility as an effective partner in the anti-terror campaign and
threatens to scare off much-needed foreign investment.
An Interior Ministry official said more militants would be detained in a new phase of the clampdown that led to the banning of five Muslim groups in January and the
rounding up of more than 2,000 people.
"The second phase of the crackdown is likely to begin in light of an action plan which was discussed at Tuesday's law and order meeting chaired by President
Musharraf," the ministry official told Reuters.
The attack on the church followed the kidnapping and murder of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted in the volatile southern port city of Karachi on
January 23 while investigating radical Islamic groups.
Musharraf and U.S. President George W. Bush conferred briefly by telephone on Monday, pledging to work together to find those behind Sunday's attack.
Cooperation between the two nations rose markedly after the September 11 attacks on the United States, when Washington relied on Pakistani support for its
offensive against Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.
U.S. AGENTS JOIN INVESTIGATION
More American special agents will soon arrive in Pakistan to help in the investigation of Sunday's attack, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.
It earlier renewed a worldwide caution to Americans, saying the incident showed terrorists might be seeking softer U.S. targets.
Dependants of U.S. embassy personnel in Islamabad and consulates in Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi have been authorised to leave Pakistan voluntarily.
But a U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday it was too early to say whether anyone was leaving.
Representatives of the tiny Christian community on Tuesday condemned "the brutal and barbaric terrorism at the place of holy worship" and criticised authorities for
"carelessness, negligence and irresponsibility".
They declared March 24 a day of mourning and fasting.
Afghanistan takes a holiday
With the celebration of Nawruz this week, cultural traditions banned by the Taliban are being revived.
By Ilene R. Prusher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – If the Taliban tried to lock culture in a closet, Afghanistan is about to have its coming-out party.
Nawruz, the Afghan New Year which began last night with feasts and all-night parties, is a popular holiday that the fundamentalist Taliban banned because it follows
the pre-Islamic Persian calendar – not the Koran.
But even as Afghans prepare to celebrate a return to normalcy by reclaiming Nawruz and everything the Taliban deprived them of – from planning a massive outdoor
concert on Thursday to sending their sons and daughters back to school this Saturday – questions about peace and stability loomed large over the festivities.
Early yesterday, Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters attacked allied forces at an airfield near Khost in eastern Afghanistan, wounding one US soldier. Three Afghan
fighters allied with US forces were killed in the attack, Afghan officials said. According to Afghan commanders interviewed there earlier this week, the Khost area
remains chock-full of Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives who fled from the Shah-e Kot Valley before and during "Operation Anaconda," which began on Mar. 2 and
was declared complete two days ago.
Progress made – and delayed
At a press conference at the start of Nawruz, the United Nations' top official in Afghanistan tried not to let ongoing fighting spoil the party, rejecting suggestions that
the security situation here is deteriorating.
"The impression we have is that there is a growing sense of security, not a diminishing sense of security," said Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special coordinator on
Afghanistan. Mr. Brahimi, who had called the meeting to mark Afghanistan's progress on the eve of the new year, instead came under fire for the panoply of
problems that have not been solved in the three months since the interim government was installed with a half-year mandate.
Progress on the formation of a loya jirga, a traditional national council, has been delayed, and many Afghans say that the security situation outside Kabul is still so
precarious that it will be difficult to ensure a safe, peaceful forum for delegates from around the country.
Asked about the US-led war on Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, Mr. Brahimi said it was necessary but not helpful in getting Afghanistan on the road to peaceful
reconstruction in the new year.
"That campaign is totally separate from what we are trying to do," Brahimi said. "We recognize the legitimacy of why it started and why it's taking place, and we
share everyone's anguish and concern over some of the negative effects and collateral damage that has to happen from time to time."
Western pop and mountain picnics
However, fighting in Khost and drizzle in Kabul didn't seem likely to block what feels like a long-hidden sun coming out again: Nawruz means "new day," and comes
from neighboring Iran, where it's also frowned upon by Islamic conservatives. In Kabul, more women can be seen showing their faces around town, still wearing the
burqa but flipping the fronts of them to expose faces that were hidden from view for five years.
Last night kicked off with an all-night, tickets-only party at the city's decrepit Intercontinental Hotel. On Thursday, the residents of Kabul will be treated to a stadium
concert by famed Afghan singer Farhad Daria, whose combination of local and Western pop sounds earned him the ire of the Taliban, which forbade all music – and
spurred his flight to Germany. Young admirers may send cards to one another, a la Valentine's Day. And over the course of the holiday, families will likely head up to
the mountains for picnics that were not just banned under the Taliban, but which have been out of fashion during years of conflict.
That, however, has de-mining experts worried about whether holiday revelers could end up on hillsides with deadly booby traps left over from 23 years of war. "The
people of Kabul were not allowed to celebrate Nawruz, and people are just dying to go up to the hills to celebrate," says Abdul Ladif Latin, a de-mining expert with
"But there were some places that we were not able or not allowed to clear." Kabul Television will be broadcasting information about which parts of the city are safe
and which are not.
One of the favorite spots for those in search of the real Nawruz will be Karte Sachi, a Kabul neighborhood that contains the city's most famous Shiite shrine. Since
the roots of Nawruz are Persian, it follows that the holiday is most dear to the country's Shiite minority, the Hazara sect.
It is here, outside a Grecian-blue mosque dedicated to Ali, the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law, that a ceremonial New Year's flag is to be raised – a job they had
hoped to bestow upon the exiled king, Zahir Shah, who will not return until next week. On the eve of the holiday, a colorful, carnival-like atmosphere began to roll
through the courtyard and even among the graves that surround the shrine, where families were putting down sheets and slabs of cardboard they would camp out on
in the days ahead.
"I'm an old woman, and the Taliban wouldn't even let me come down here on our holiday," says Bibi Qandi, surveying the scores of people preparing for the holiday.
"We tried to celebrate it at home, but that was very difficult. It's just not the same if you can't come here."
Nearby, an elderly salesman kept watch over his table of children's toys: fake Matchbox cars and trucks for boys, knock-off blonde Barbies in miniskirts for girls.
"On Nawruz, every parent has to give gifts to their children," explains Hussein Ali. "For years, [the government] didn't allow us to celebrate Nawruz, and now they're
ADB to Host Conference on Economic Cooperation in Central Asia
Thursday March 21, 4:31 PM(AFP)
MANILA, March 21 Asia Pulse - The Asian Development Bank [ADB] will host the first Ministerial Conference on economic cooperation in Central Asia on
March 25 and 26 at its headquarters in Manila.
The conference will provide an opportunity to strengthen coordination and cooperation among the international community for improved assistance to the Central
It will enable regular high-level dialogue between leaders of the countries to build trust and understanding as the foundation of cooperation.
Government officials from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are expected to participate in the first major economic cooperation
meeting in Central Asia since the events of September 11.
Government officials from neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan will also attend, along with
representatives from international aid agencies. ADB President Tadao Chino will deliver the opening speech.
The conference aims to provide guidance in prioritizing regional investment needs and in mobilizing resources to finance them, the ADB said in a press statement.
It will also provide an occasion for concerned countries and donors to discuss areas for better coordination as well as to explore new prospects for cooperation in
the context of the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
ADB and the Central Asian countries have been partners in development since 1997 in encouraging economic cooperation in the region.
ADB's assistance in the region focuses on concrete regional investment projects in the areas of transport, energy and trade.
WHITE HOUSE WATCH: Backtracking On Foreign Aid
Thursday March 21, 5:36 AM
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--In a muddled fashion, the Bush administration Tuesday announced that a new aid program for developing countries will actually
distribute $10 billion over three years rather than the $5 billion mentioned last week. But White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer denied Wednesday the increase
came after widespread criticism that $5 billion was too small an amount to be meaningful.
Fleischer said the idea that the administration was boosting the amount of money to damp down the criticism "just doesn't hold water."
To prove the point, Fleischer said the White House has ignored criticism of its policies in the past.
"Keep in mind how much criticism the administration has had on other issues internationally. And this administration, when it announces something, sticks to it. When
the president says this is the right policy, that is the policy that is pursued. Global warming for example. There has been criticism internationally of the president's
position on global warming. Did that lead to a change? No," Fleischer said.
However, Fleischer had difficulty explaining why it took the administration five days to clarify how much new aid money would flow into the new program.
Last Thursday, in a speech at the World Bank, Bush said he would propose distributing a total of $5 billion over three years to developing countries that adopted
economic and political reforms.
However, during a meeting with a small group of journalists on Tuesday afternoon, Bush talked about completely new numbers. He said that in the first year of the
program the U.S. would distribute about $1.6 billion, in the second year about $3.2 billion, and in the third year about $5 billion. The combined total for the first
three years is about $10 billion. He also announced the program would be permanent, and would distribute $5 billion annually from the third year onward.
Fleischer claimed the confusion over the numbers stemmed from a poor presentation of the facts by the White House. However, this doesn't explain why the White
House waited five days to clarify what it really meant.
Furthermore, during the five days, the U.S. came under fierce criticism at a development summit in Monterrey, Mexico, which Bush plans to attend shortly.
Pentagon Sees Link Between Al-Qaida And Somalia
In the aftermath of the firefight in Mogadishu in 1993 in which 18 U.S. soldiers were killed, there has been speculation that al-Qaida terrorists played a key role in
the events. The Pentagon said it has now found evidence in the Shah-e-Kot mountains that the speculation is on target.
Brig. Gen, John Rosa Jr. announced that U.S. forces searching strongpoints in the aftermath of Operation Anaconda discovered a Global Positioning System (GPS)
unit marked "G. Gordon."
"We currently believe this GPS belonged to Army Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, an Army Special Ops Force Soldier killed in Somalia in 1993," Rosa said.
Exactly how the GPS got from Somalia to Afghanistan is unclear, but Rosa said it may show al-Qaida's link to events in Somalia.
"There's a couple of conclusions you may draw. First of all, we've said all along that we suspected al-Qaida of being a worldwide network and, in fact, this piece we
currently think originated from Somalia will obviously tie -could obviously tie al-Qaida to Somalia," Rosa said.
However, Rosa also offered a slightly more benign explanation as well.
"The other side of the coin, you might ask yourself, if it was stolen, and sold on the black market," Rosa said.
Rosa said the military is trying to determine whether the GPS really did belong to Sergeant Gordon. He said it was a civilian model which the Special Forces troops
in the early 1990s preferred to use because they were smaller than the military-issue units. The military is talking to the manufacturer of the unit to see if they can
figure from the serial number where the unit was originally sold and to whom.
No Plans To Put U.S. Forces In Indonesia
USA Today reported Wednesday the military is seeking to renew military-to-military contacts with the Indonesian military and also to get U.S. ground forces into the
country to ascertain the growing threat posed by al-Qaida there.
However, Rosa denied there was any plans in the works to do this, and Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clarke cautioned that before any such idea could be
considered, Congress would have to lift restrictions it has placed on ties to Indonesia.
"To my knowledge, we are not working at this time, currently working, (on) any kind of plan for military force, or military presence I should say, in Indonesia," Rosa
"There are real constraints put on us by Congress as to what we can do with Indonesia in any kind of military-to-military relationship. So before there is any
consideration given to what you might do with Indonesia, there would be extensive consultation with Congress and there would be action by Congress," Clarke
Congress terminated U.S. military ties to Indonesia in the wake of the killings that took place before the election in East Timor in 1999.
Even if the military has no plans to return to Indonesia now, Rosa made it clear vast swathe of islands that make up the nation would be a natural sanctuary for the
al-Qaida fugitives fleeing Afghanistan and trying to regroup.
"I would say it's a country...where we've looked at the trails. I don't want to be specific and tell you how or what we found. But as you might expect, that is a vast,
vast array of islands. Are there easy places to hide there? You betcha," Rosa said.
-By Alex Keto, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; Alex.Keto@Dowjones.com
US forces kill 10 in Afghanistan
Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 08:59 GMT (AFP)
Remnants of the Taleban remain active
US soldiers in Afghanistan say they have found ten bodies after American planes responded to an attack near an airfield in the east of the country.
A military spokesman said they had also detained one person after the attack, near the town of Khost.
They said one American soldier had been injured in the engagement.
A US commander in Afghanistan, Major General Frank Hagenbeck, has warned that Taleban and Al Qaeda forces are regrouping and could launch renewed
attacks as the weather improves.
He said the fighters had considerable support from local people on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Khost is at the south-eastern end of the valley where the recent Operation Anaconda was staged.
That operation around Gardez - aimed at flushing out remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taleban from hiding places - ended this week.
The attack on the town came less than a day after gunmen challenging the authority of the city's newly appointed police chief shot at security forces, killing one
person and injuring three others.
Army spokesman Major Bryan Hilferty, of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Bagram air base, said: "Coalition forces in the Khost area were attacked by
Taleban and al-Qaeda extremists using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns."
The gun battle occurred in the city's main market and forced people to shutter their shops, the Afghan Islamic Press reported, citing witnesses.
"It was a known coalition camp that was taken under fire. We fired back," Major Hilferty said.
Khost is close to the Pakistani border in an area of strong support for the Taleban and al-Qaeda.
There have been several bombings and shootings there in recent weeks.
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