Saturday, November 10, 2001

Front Lines
Northern Alliance forces said they had captured northern Samangan province bordering Tajikistan after Taliban withdrew almost without a fight. Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for commander Atta Mohammad, said the resistance troops were chasing the Taliban into Baghlan province to the Southeast. Susequent reports said that anti-Taliban forces quickly seized three northern provincial capitals: Shibarghan in Jozjan province, Aybak in Samangan province and Maimana in Faryab province. Taking Aybak would cut the main escape route for Taliban soldiers withdrawing from Mazar-e-Sharif to Kabul. Gen. Dostum's troops were advancing on western Badghis in a move that would allow him to join his troops with those of Ismail Khan, a mujahedeen general leading a separate rebellion near Herat.

Enemy Territory
Speaking to Hamid Mir, the editor of the Pakistani periodical Ausaf, at a location near Kabul, Osama bin Laden has told Dawn that "we have chemical and nuclear weapons as a deterrent and if America used them against us we reserve the right to use them".

The Alliance
The Israeli army arrested 12 Palestinians in an overnight raid into autonomous Palestinian territory in the northern West Bank. Palestinian security sources said those arrested included a policeman and a member of the intelligence services. One Palestinian was wounded during the raid. In France, five Algerian Islamists belonging to one of Osama bin Laden's groups were arrested in Strasbourg for preparing attacks on targets including the cathedral. Neutral Switzerland has agreed to allow U.S. planes with humanitarian goods bound for Afghanistan to fly over its territory -- but not those involved in the military operation. The Arab world must be prepared to offer a collective guarantee of Israel’s security and integration into the Middle East in return for the setting up of a Palestinian state, King Abdullah of Jordan told The Times of London.

Home Front
President Bush comes to New York under super-tight security to lay out the "Bush Doctrine" at the United Nations, putting the world on notice that "now is the time for action" against terror. Notary public Kenys Galicia, who admitted signing fraudulent paperwork for two of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks agreed to a plea bargain in which she pleaded guilty to an unrelated federal fraud charge. A cardiologist in New Jersey said that he thought he might have contracted skin anthrax in the first week of September. One of his offices is in Kendall Park, next to Franklin Park, the town cited in the return address on the anthrax-laden envelope sent to the Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, on Oct. 9. Frontier Post reports that Pakistani and American investigators agree that the Al Qaeda network may have successfully transported several nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons to the United States.

Fifth Column
"If in the long run you want to succeed in this fight against terrorism, you have to address not only the terrorist networks of Al-Qaida and a few others and destroy them, but you have to address also the root causes which are the ground on which these networks can be developed," said France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-David Levitte. Student senators at the University of Missouri-Columbia rejected a resolution expressing support for "United States soldiers, both here and abroad, and for the United States of America in its struggle against terrorism." A U.S. Magistrate ordered Citadel cadet Yasir Khatib held without bail after federal prosecutors laid out a case against him that includes allegations of four different identities, disguises and "cosmetic surgery," a visa violation and references in private correspondences to a "jihad."

Friday, November 09, 2001

Front Lines
The Northern Alliance reports it has taken Mazar-e-Sharif. Enemy forces appeared to be retreating east, toward Kabul. In western Afghanistan, forces under the command of Ismail Khan have reached 20 kilometers from Herat. The advance came after seven senior Taliban commanders and 100 of their men switched sides. U.S. warplanes continued to strike Taliban positions around Kabul. The Taliban soldiers fought back with anti-aircraft fire after several days of holding their fire. An opposition commander said the enemy had reinforced the front line with about 2,000 troops, mostly Arab and Pakistani volunteers, and have also brought in ammunition, tanks and other vehicles. Hundreds of troops of the Alliance, backed by tanks, massed at the front line just north of the city and commanders said they expected to advance within hours. Meanwhile, a reporter for The Guardian, reporting from Peshawar, in Pakistan, says that key Afghan opposition commanders are on the verge of abandoning the fight against the Taliban because their confidence in US military strategy has collapsed. No pleasing some people, is there?

Enemy Territory
A U.S. warplane has killed 13 Saudi Arabians in a raid on Taliban positions, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported. An al Qaeda spokesman said the men were travelling in two military vehicles on their way to join Taliban forces near Mazar-i-Sharif. Taliban have granted Afghan citizenship to Osama Bin Laden and his companions. Others who have been granted the nationality include, the Chief of defunct Islamic Jihad, Aimen Al-Zahawri, Islamic Jihad's Leader, Sheikh Asim Abdul Rehman, Operational Commander of Al-Qaeda, Saif-ul-Adil Abu Hafz, and Deputy Operational Commander Muhammad Atef. Arab militants, including supporters of the Iranian-backed terrorist organisation Hezbollah, have made their way to Afghanistan, where they volunteering for service in the Taleban army. A leader of the Hezbollah, known as Commander Jamal, was quoted by one Karachi daily as saying; "all Jihad forces have agreed to cooperate with each other against US and its allies."

The Alliance
Police killed three people and fired teargas at a demonstration near Islamabad after a nationwide strike turned violent as expected. Palestinian gunmen shot dead an Israeli woman motorist near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. The Netherlands is to send between 1,200 and 1,400 troops to help the US-led campaign, and two Japanese destroyers and a supply ship are expected to arrive in the Indian Ocean in two weeks.

Home Front
In an act of breath-taking stupidity, the September 11th Fund, which has raised $337 million, provided a $171,000 grant last month to the Legal Aid Society for "emergency civil legal assistance." The legal group has complained about the treatment of the suspects being detained as security risks in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. None of the grant money is going for the defense of three detained Arabs whom the Legal Aid Society is representing, a spokeswoman said.

Fifth Column
Utterly predictable leftist Howard Zinn, writing the The Progressive, helps the war effort along by saying that "If the deaths of civilians are inevitable in bombing, it may not be deliberate, but it is not an accident, and the bombers cannot be considered innocent. They are committing murder as surely as are the terrorists." A homemade bomb exploded inside a Protestant church in Jakarta as worshippers were gathering, but there were no reports of casualties. Two suspects were arrested and found with three other bombs. In New Delhi, around 25,000 activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), or CPI (ML), demonstrated against the US. Coined as the "anti-war and anti-WTO" rally, the CPI (ML) members burned an effigy of Bush and beat it with sticks, chanting: "Down with the world’s terrorist number one, down, down," "Down with the world’s imperialist number one" and "Hands off Afghanistan."

Thursday, November 08, 2001

Front Lines
Afghan opposition commanders said they would launch an offensive Thursday to capture Mazar-i-Sharif. "Our troops are positioned eight km (five miles) from Mazar-i-Sharif airport to the southeast and 50 km (30 miles) to the southwest," said Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for the Northern Alliance opposition. Trucks and cars loaded with Taliban were reported heading to the north "day and night" to oppose the offensive. Both sides reporting intense fighting in the area as the day progressed. Opposition spokesman Ashraf Nadem said his forces had captured another district, Sayyat, southwest of Mazar-e-Sharif, while the Taliban denied losing the district and said three opposition attacks had failed. By 9 am Afghan time Friday, forces of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostam were reported to have advanced to within four miles northwest of the city and captured 300 of the Islamic militia's soldiers. Nearer Kabul, AFP reports that Afghan Shia Muslim faction Hezb-i-Wahdat in northeast Iran said that the US warplanes were using Bagram airfield.

Enemy Territory
Despite Taliban claims to the contrary, Hamid Karzai continues to deny he is dead. The Taliban have arrested 15 Afghans, including a former army colonel, in eastern regions on suspicion they were spying for the United States. Those arrested face the death sentence. Harkat-e-Jehad-e-Islami, a Pakistani terrorist group based in Kashmir, said 85 of its fighters were killed by U.S. bombs while fighting alongside the Taliban near Mazar-e-Sharif. A Taliban chief said today he was preparing to defect, with 18 commanders and 1,600 men, to the US-backed opposition Northern Alliance. The man, who refused to be identified, said he had come to Peshawar from an eastern area of Afghanistan to consult with anti-Taliban commanders in exile and prepare a revolt against Taliban. Probably passing him on the way, more than 1,500 tribesmen and a convoy of 25 trucks with food and supplies crossed into Afghanistan today to help the Taliban.

The Alliance
President Burhanuddin Rabbani met with with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who plans to send 90 special forces troops to Afghanistan. "We do not require any troops from friendly states," Rabbani told reporters in the Tajik capital. "The only thing we need is financial, logistical and political help." Pakistan has ordered the Taliban to close its consulate in Karachi and its diplomats also were told not to take part in nationwide protests by hard-line Islamic groups scheduled for Friday in Karachi. A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself as an anti-terrorist unit closed in on his hide-out in a West Bank village. The assailant was killed and two Israeli commandos were hurt. King Abdullah of Jordan threw his weight behind Washington's military campaign in Afghanistan, saying it must be waged cautiously but with ''unflinching resolve.''

Home Front
A single-engine plane was forced to land at a central Florida airport by two F-16 fighter jets today. Area schools were locked down for about 20 minutes as the plane was being escorted to the airport.

Fifth Column
Mujahid Abdulqaadir Menepta, 51, in jail on a weapons charge, once threatened to shoot any police officer who entered the prayer area of a mosque. Menepta was arrested Oct. 11 by the FBI as a material witness in connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was first detained because of his friendship with Zacarias Moussaoui, who continues to be held in New York as a material witness. Police in Istanbul have seized about a kilogram of weapons-grade uranium and detained two Turks who attempted to sell the substance to undercover agents. The two men told police they had bought the uranium in Istanbul from a Russian man of Azeri origin several months ago. An official in Vietnam's Ministry of Health said Thursday that preliminary tests conducted on suspicious powder found at a BP joint venture company indicate the substance was anthrax. Fighting escalated between government troops and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka's north, leaving 16 rebels and two soldiers dead.

Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Front Lines
Northern Alliance troops took control of Shol Ghar district and some units were just 14 kilometers south of Mazar-i-Sharif. The NA claimed to have captured the senior Taliban commander for northern Afghanistan, Mullah Qair. But a Taliban official called the claim "totally baseless" and said that "We have no one of that name in our movement." Not anymore, anyway. B52s continued bombing in support of NA operations at Mazar and near Kabul, concentrating on concentrations of Arab and Pakistani mercenaries. Northern Alliance commanders were jubilant about the death of key Taleban commander, Gulgarai, and about 48 Pakistani mercenaries, in American bombing raids near Mazar.

Enemy Territory
The awful Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has urged Taliban rulers to form a broad-based alliance to fight the United States, saying that he and his troops are ready to join such a force. The Taliban claim a B52 has crashed in Afghanistan. No one else does. The Frontier Post reports the Taliban are organizing suicide squads, "ready to lay down their lives in the war against the US." Interesting concept; the US Army has formations (called infantry) that are trained to kill the enemy, but we're obviously behind in having no units trained to kill themselves. Which brings up a further question: When they go through Suicide Troop School, do they flunk the course if they survive the final exam?

The Alliance
Germany is sending 3900 troops to support American operations against terrorism. Italy is contributing 2700 troops. In Qatar, a man opened fire on al-Adid airbase and was killed by a guard. An undisclosed number of Americans was reported wounded. The US finally, after ten years of warfare, got around to acknowledging the ties between the Chechen bandits in Russia and al-Qaeda. 29-year-old Saif al Islam Ghaddafi, one of the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi, is acting as a mediator in Germany on behalf of the Taliban in the case of eight imprisoned Western aid workers. The Taliban is demanding "politcial concessions" in exchange for their release.

Home Front
Federal officials are investigating Islamic money exchanges with offices in the United States that the investigators say funnel tens of millions of dollars to finance terrorist activities. In response to criticism of stupid statements by its foreign editor, Loren Jenkins, National Public Radio generously notes that it "would never knowingly compromise the security or safety of American military or national security operations by reporting information that would endanger them. The entire editorial team at NPR operates by this standard, and our reporting on the terrorism story and its aftermath reflects our careful editorial practices in this regard." Zacarias Moussaoui, 33 will probably become the first person to be indicted in the conspiracy leading up to the WTC bombing .

Fifth Column
A columnist for the Hamas weekly Al-Risala, based in Gaza, writes suggesting that anthrax be introduced into US water supplies. As the U.S. geared up for military action in Afghanistan, US Army Chaplain Capt. Abd Al-Rasheed Muhammad questioned the permissibility of a fight against fellow Muslims. William Milton Cooper, 58, a wanted militia figure who vowed that he would never be taken alive, has gotten his way; he was fatally shot at his Eager, Ariz., home after confronting deputies and shooting one of them in the head.

Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Front Lines
For awhile it seemed the Taliban had finally succeeded in shooting down a US helicopter. Runsfeld says it ain't so. Taliban military positions were hit over the weekend with 15,000-pound (that's 7.5 kilotons, folks) "Daisy Cutter" bombs, the most powerful non-nuclear bombs in the U.S. arsenal. They killed... ummm... lemme count... more than four. Suburbs of Mazar-e-Sharif and parts of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan remained target of the Monday's bombings. Takhar and Kabul also pounded with explosives. Northern Alliance forces said they had taken Zari, Keshendeh and Aq-Kupruk, keys locations around Mazar. 200 Taliban were killed and 300 surrendered.

Enemy Territory
Fox News says that five gunmen tried to force their way into Quetta airport but were repuled by Pakistani police. U.S. intelligence officials said they suspect that the Pakistani ISI helped set up Abdul Haq’s capture by the Taliban near Sorodi. Pakistan's International News says that Arabs and not the Afghan Taliban fighters are controlling important parts of the country and fighting major battles on frontlines. Just goes to reinforce my opinion that we're fighting a war against colonialism. Who'da thunk it?

The Alliance
The US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, confirmed that an envelope sent to its Lahore consulate last week had tested positive for anthrax. American officials say anthrax has been found in mail sent to the consulate in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Saudi Arabia is thinking about its role in Afghanistan after the current crop of murderers and thugs is disposed of. Certainly they've done one helluva job to date. The Chicago Sun-Times points out the obvious: Britain misjudges its Muslims' loyalties. Yeah. And not only the Brits.

Home Front
More people joined the "national conversation" on whether non-cooperative terrorist suspects should be tortured. Common sense says no, no, a thousand times no -- as policy. Common sense also says that, unofficially of course, if they were to fall down the stairs a few times or walk into a door here or there, no one would really care. I think it was Jonah Goldberg who brought up the subject of "unofficial rules" in NRO about six months ago.

Fifth Column
Radical environmentalists were suspected of planting two bombs at the Michigan Tech University campus yesterday. Environmental radicals have claimed responsibility for at least five acts of sabotage over the past two months. Bill Ayers, the onetime Weather Underground terrorist who was quoted in the Sept. 11 New York Times as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough," has resumed the promotion tour for his memoir, "Fugitive Days." The Australian school in Jakarta, Indonesia, was bombed. Katha Pollitt is still writing in The Nation: "9/11 and its sequelae have definitely rehabilitated such traditional masculine values as physical courage, upper-body strength, toughness, resolve. The WTC attack is men vs. men — firefighters v. fanatics. (It would seem positively ungrateful to ask why, in a city half black and brown, the "heroes" were still mostly white, and, for that matter, still mostly male.)" And this is bad because...?

Monday, November 05, 2001

Front Lines
Novosti reports that about 3000 mercenaries, a mix of Pakistanis, Arabs and Chechens, have joined the Taliban forces. Times of India reports the Taliban claim to halted have a major opposition offensive near Mazar, inflicting 35 dead. The Taliban also claim that 95 US personnel have been killed to date; the US admits to no deaths. The Times of India also reports a US attack on a hotel and vehicles used by Taliban fighters that littered the streets with wreckage and body parts.

Enemy Territory
IRNA reports that Taliban foreign minister Mutawakil challenges George Bush and Tony Blair to meet Mullah Omar one (or two) on one for a gunfight with Kalashnikovs. The Taliban Minister of Education promises the war will last for "decades." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld doesn't think it will take quite that long.

The Alliance
Saudi Arabia says it will flog anthrax hoaxers. A former deputy prime minister under exiled Afghan King Zahir Shah was in Islamabad for talks on the post-Taliban government. The CIA is said to be recruiting former Khad (secret police) agents from the Communist Najibullah regime for operations against the Taliban. IRNA reports that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf met with senior leaders of exiled prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to win support for his policy regarding Afghanistan.

Home Front
ABC reports that three Pakistani men arrested in New Jersey are being questioned regarding anthrax. Politicians and federal officials were up in arms over the Nepalese man who waltzed through Chicago airport security with an arsenal of seven knives, a stun gun and tear gas. George Jonas, writing in Canada's National Post has a very good discussion of the subject of Resentment and Hostility -- not in the sense harped upon in academia of the West having to understand the root causes of blah, blah, blah, but the other way around. Good point: Why is it incumbent upon us to please them?

Fifth Column
Noam Chomsky, speaking in India, described the US-led attacks on Afghanistan as a "silent genocide", affecting millions of innocent civilians. Three Episcopalian bishops picketed the Israeli consulate in Boston calling for greater concern for Palestinian rights.

Sunday, November 04, 2001

Front Lines
Times of India, on Afgha.com reports the Northern Alliance has managed to open a new airstrip, at Sherkat, about 80 km north of Kabul, that will provide support to any ground offensive against the Taliban. A major attack was launched south of Mazar-e-Sharif, with heavy Taliban casualties. Afgha.com also reported that another batch of 1200 Pakistanis crossed the border to reinforce the Taliban.

Enemy Territory
The Taliban claimed that it has hanged opposition commander Hamid Karzai and an unidentified American national in Jalalabad. Karzai denied he had been hanged. A Taliban minister said that two US helicopters had been shot down in Afghanistan and up to 50 US troops killed. The US said it lost one helicopter in bad weather, with four injured. The Iranian News Agency quoted the Taliban governor of Kandahar as stating the Taliban's arms and ammunition deports were still intact and that they were waiting for the introduction of American ground forces.

The Alliance
The Saudi newspaper Okaz charged that the Israeli secret service Mossad was behind the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. Karachi police ammounced the arrest of one person in connection with the anthrax sent to the Daily Jang newspaper; he has implicated a person working for a foreign computer company. If the report is true, there are lotsa FBI guys who want to have a talk with this fellow. Pakistan deported 200 Taliban sympathizers and trouble-makers. The number of people who support the deployment of British troops in Afghanistan has risen to almost 60 per cent, according to the Observer.

Home Front
Washington Post reports on the government's strategy of rounding up as many Middle Eastern men as possible to disrupt further al-Qaeda operations. Of 1,147 detained, officials have specifically singled out 185 who are being held on immigration charges. Another small number -- perhaps 10 -- are believed to lie at the center of the investigation, with ties to the al Qaeda network or some knowledge of the hijackers. But sources say none of those men is cooperating. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that key front-line medical workers were being vaccinated against smallpox. London's News of the World blames Bin Laden's hatred of the west and America on his tiny pee-pee.

Fifth Column
New York Post carries an article on American traitor Mohammad Junaid, who has gone to fight against his country in Afghanistan. He said his grandfather instilled in him the belief that "your loyalty is with Islam. Your loyalty is with the Muslims. Just because you're in New York, your loyalty is still with them." Meanwhile, Steve Dunleavy's son, Pete, a lieutenant in the Army Reserve, left for overseas, hopefully to kill Junaid. The AP reports that a 27-year-old man carrying seven knives and a stun gun was arrested trying to board a flight at O'Hare International Airport, but was released from custody.