Saturday, November 17, 2001

Afghanistan
  • President Burhanuddin Rabbani arrived In Kabul on Saturday. The Northern Alliance is preparing to hold a Loya Jirga, a gathering of traditional Afghan leaders outside Kabul to set up a provisional administration.
  • A delegation of representatives of Russian ministries and departments is on its way to Kabul to establish contacts with the government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. Iran will become the first country to reopen its embassy Kabul. Interior Minister Younus Qanooni has banned firearms in Kabul. He plans to replace NA soldiers with unarmed police force after residents turn in their weapons.
  • Officials from the Northern Alliance say most of a group of UK special forces at Bagram airbase must be withdrawn. 15 of the 100 British troops who arrived on Thursday can stay for humanitarian tasks. Ismail Khan, who recaptured Herat province this week, said that the American forces who helped rout the Taliban and al-Qaeda don't need to stay.
  • The US continued bombing in support of United Front operations around Konduz. Al-Qaeda Arabs are reported to have executed 150 Afghan Taliban because they wanted to surrender. The massacre was said to have followed the defection of 1,000 Afghan Talibs under Gen Mirai Nasery. Al-Qa'eda soldiers arrested more than 100 prominent Kunduz citizens and were holding them hostage to stall an alliance attack.
  • The Taliban has said it is still in full control of Kandahar and has no plans to withdraw. Defenders continued to hold out against Pashtun tribal guerrillas aided by US Special Forces and resupplied by US helicopters.
  • About 200 Arabs and Pakistanis waged a fierce battle with NA soldiers in the hills of Paghman, 12 miles outside Kabul. Several were killed and others were arrested. The rest escaped to the mountains and were being hunted.
  • Taliban envoy to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said Osama bin Laden has left Afghanistan with his children and his wives and that the Islamic militia does not know where he went. He later said that he was wrong, that bin Laden was still in Afghanistan, but that he still didn't know where he was. An Arab newspaper reported an alleged follower of bin Laden as saying the Saudi-born dissident had deployed 10 lookalikes to foil U.S. efforts at capturing him.
  • The Taliban confirmed Saturday that terrorist leader Mohammed Atef was killed along with seven other al-Qaida members in a U.S. attack three days ago. Then they said he wasn't. Maybe he just smells funny...

    Terror Networks
  • British police are questioning six men in connection with a series of "Real" IRA bombings in the UK over the past 18 months and anti-bomb disposal units are searching a disused farm near Leeds in northern England.
  • One Palestinian was killed, another moderately injured and a third caught in an Israeli manhunt in the central part of the Jewish state.The three were part of a group of four Palestinians who illegally crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
  • Ethnic Albanian gunmen and Macedonian security forces clashed in the northwestern region a day after a shadowy rebel group threatened a new insurgency. Rebels opened fierce machine-gun and grenade-launcher fire on a checkpoint near the village of Preljubiste.
  • German investigators have identified a new group of five people in Hamburg whom they believe provided financial and other support to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers and may have critical knowledge of the terror attacks.

    The Alliance
  • More than 300 anti-war protesters rallied in front of the German parliament, while deputies discussed plans to commit some 3,900 soldiers for the anti-terror alliance.
  • Pakistan stated that it would not grant political asylum to Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden. Sources in the ISI say that Pakistan has no choice now but to "somehow come to assistance of the crumbling Taliban regime in the south so as preserve Pakistan's territorial integrity." Pakistan has arrested 83 activists of the Pakistan-based Kashmiri group Harkatul Mujahideen after they crossed into the country's tribal areas from Afghanistan. An Indian intelligence report says that about 6,000 Pakistan Army personnel fought with the Taliban even after the US began bombing Afghanistan, including Mazar-e-Sharif. Pakistan denies airlifting them out.
  • Saudi Arabian clerics have blamed the lack of seasonal rainfall on sinful Muslims and called on citizens to repent and offer up prayers as they begin Ramadan.

    Home Front
  • Capitol police closed two Senate office buildings to test for anthrax spores after investigators discovered a contaminated letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The letter was found in a batch of mail that had been removed from congressional office buildings and segregated.

    Fifth Column
  • Five of the British Muslims recruited by al-Muhajiroun to fight in support of the Taliban are doorknob dead. Enjoy your 70 virgins, guys.
  • "Those screaming for an 'eye for an eye' form of justice have sucked the dissenting population into this funnel of a war. Your screams have been heard, and it is now your war to fight. Now stand by your beliefs." Mary Carradine of the The Daily Cougar (U. Houston)
  • Friday, November 16, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • Talks to secure a peaceful handover of Kunduz collapsed, setting the stage for a possible battle involving thousands of foreign Taliban troops believed to be trapped there. American aircraft struck Taliban positions outside the city for the first time, and Northern Alliance commanders decided that they would move into the city, which its troops had surrounded. Pakistan denied reports that two of its passenger planes made flights to the city to evacuate Pakistan army troops. A senior Taleban emissary has gone to Islamabad to beg the United Nations to accept the surrender of between 15,000 and 20,000 Taleban fighters trapped in the province.
  • Armed followers of Hamid Karzai, who is still not dead, and former Kandahar governor Gul Agha have established positions in southern Afghanistan. The forces of the two commanders entrenched themselves after the Taliban refused to surrender the city. Ethnic Pashtun anti-Taliban fighters have taken control of Uruzgan province.
  • An Iranian radio station said Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama bin Laden had fled to Pakistan. Afghan Islamic Press reported that Mullah Omar has decided to withdraw from Kandahar and retreat into the Afghan mountains. Washington Post adds that under the deal, control of the city will pass to Mullah Naqibullah and Haji Basher, two former commanders of Afghan resistance forces in the war against Soviet invaders who are not members of the Taliban. Seventeen leading members of the Taliban have been given safe passage into Turkmenistan, according to reports from Moscow. There were other reports that many Taliban leaders have arrived in Pakistan from Jalalabad. They evacuated that city on Wednesday after receiving an assurance of safe passage. Haji Mullah Khaksar, the Taliban Deputy Interior Minister, stayed behind in his official residence in Kabul and was said to have switched sides. Mohammed Atef, a former Egyptian policeman and one of bin Laden's senior lieutenants, was apparently killed by American bombs in or near Kabul.
  • Pakistani holy warriors are deserting Taliban ranks and streaming home in large numbers, while in the streets of Peshawar portraits of Osama bin Laden go unsold. Pakistani authorities have blocked the return of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, who led thousands of volunteers to Afghanistan to join the Taliban fighting against the United States. No telling what he's going to do.

    Terror Networks
  • The fall of the Taliban regime is causing concern among Indian security officials who fear that fighters fleeing Afghanistan might find their way to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Palestinians fired a home-made rocket at an Israeli army position on the edge of the Gaza Strip. The rocket exploded but caused no casualties or damage. Palestinians also fired three mortar bombs into Israel, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, and a forth at the Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, again causing no casualties.
  • The Abu Sayyaf Group has called for the payment of $19,607 (P1m) for the safe release of Deborah Yap, a Filipina nurse. Roland Ullah, a hostage who was abducted in Malaysia in April 2000 has become an Abu Sayyaf leader, prompting authorities to believe he was a spy for the hostage-takers.

    The Alliance
  • The United Nations is sharply reducing its peacekeeping force in Lebanon amid increasing tension in the south. So far, Finland, Ireland, Nepal and Sweden have pulled their troops out of southern Lebanon. On Tuesday, the last members of the 650-member Irish contingent left the country. They'll probably do just about as much good when they get to Afghanistan.
  • In a gesture of breath-taking good sense, Kofi Annan's Deputy Special Representative Francesc Vendrell said that Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India do not qualify to join a multilateral force in Afghanistan under the UN flag, as they have interests in Afghanistan.
  • Frontier Post reports that an Islamic force from Jordan will take control of Kabul during next week in connection with the expected set-up for broad based government.
  • Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has urged Muslim clerics to be cautious in their pronouncements, saying they have a responsibility toward their faith and government. At a Khobar mosque, Sheik Mohammed al-Tawwash called on God to "protect the innocent Muslims and give them victory over the infidels and enemies of Islam" but made no mention of the U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan. That's something, anyway.
  • Fifty-nine men, including eight foreigners, have been flogged in Riyadh for harassing girls.

    Home Front
    A wheelchair-bound man who arrived at a Metairie, La., mosque with two guns in a bag was booked with two counts of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

    Fifth Column
  • "One of the main purveyors of violence in this world has been this country, whether it's been against Nicaragua, Vietnam or wherever," actor Danny Glover stated at an anti-death penalty forum at Princeton University. Glover said America was the one to blame for bombing and terror around the world.
  • Lion & Lamb Project's Executive Director, Daphne White, has condemned Hasbro's GI Joe action figures, calling them "aggressive toys." Jeff McIntyre, a federal affairs officer for the American Psychological Association, agrees. He does not believe the 'good-versus-evil' scenario is a valid reason for kids to play with G.I. Joe. He said kids learn the wrong lessons from "militaristic" toys including G.I. Joe, "that have violence as endemic to their character."
  • Thursday, November 15, 2001

    Analysis: Peace-keepers
    Afghans, probably mistakenly, don't think they need a peace-keeping force to maintain order in their country. The United Front has taken control in Kabul, and they have invited other factions, notably the Pashtuns, to join them in setting up a truly broad-based government. Meanwhile, they have taken over the defense ministry, interior ministry, and the courts, and they have introduced a real police force into Kabul.

    The "peace-keepers" are a UN idea. The European Union will push it and it will be adopted. We're going to see peace-keepers in Afghanistan, and they will do their usual estimable job. It was US Marines who were in Lebanon as peace-keepers in the early 80s. They actually had a few tense confrontations with the Israelis in defense of the Lebanese, before the Lebanese blew 240 of them to pieces while they slept in barracks. UN peace-keepers in the Balkans declared safe areas where Muslims could gather to be butchered by Serbs. Sarajevo was an open city under UN protection while it was being blown to pieces. This very night, Macedonians will slumber peacefully in their beds, their security guaranteed by peace-keepers. US forces were in Somalia first to deliver groceries to the starving, then as peace-keepers; just look at how fondly all sides recall the experience. And peace-keepers did a fine job in places like Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    Now the question becometh: who will be the peace-keepers? Pakistan, having created the Taliban and having watched a few thousand of its nationals rushing across the border waving swords and guns and screaming "jihad!" has volunteered for the job. And Saudi Arabia, whose charity has produced the system of madrassahs in Pakistan from whence appeared the Taliban, has offered to send financial aid. That should certainly calm things down and induce trust among all the Afghan parties. This is what might be termed the Worst Case Scenario.

    If we lived in a logical world, American, British, Russian and perhaps Turkish forces would do the job. If the EU is determined to be involved, add the French as well. This would only work if the peace-keepers were authorized to use force as necessary to pacify the parties -- acting, in fact, as a national army for Afghanistan until all the factions had been disarmed. These would have to be not run-of-the-mill troops, but rather on the order of a Marine Expeditionary Force, the Gurkhas, the Legion, and a division of Russian airborne. But this scenario would never play in "the Arab street." Nor would it play in the American or European press. It would imply that someone actually wanted to accomplish something, to whit, the establishment of a secure, modern state somewhere between Iran and Pakistan.

    What we'll likely see is something entirely different, which is a force cleverly designed to maintain as much of the status quo as possible and offend no one outside Afghanistan. Pakistan and, to a slightly lesser extent, Iran both regard Afghanistan as being within their spheres of influence. Both resent meddling by outside parties, regardless of any benefit that would actually accrue to the Afghans, or even to themselves. Neither will tolerate a program that has a chance of being effective. Hence the call for "neutral Muslim" forces. Non-Muslim forces would, of course, "pollute" the Afghan holy places, drink beer, and flirt with the local women. So expect to see Moroccans and Jordanians driving around in blue armored personnel carriers. Expect them to leave quickly if the ISI can figure a way to put another proxy force into the country; we haven't heard anything from the Baluchis, have we? They seem to have been quite left out of the recent festivities.

    If the world is determined to be ineffectual, at least use neutral non-Muslim forces for the futile UN "presence." Brazilians and Argentines, for instance, might at least introduce the lambada and the tango so the Afghans would have a little something to amuse themselves after the next government collapses.
    Afghanistan
  • Exiled president Burhanuddin Rabbani will return today to Kabul to pronounce himself the head of territories now under the control of the anti-Taliban opposition.
  • Mullah Mohammed Omar warned today of a plan to destroy the United States: "The current situation in Afghanistan is related to a bigger cause -- that is the destruction of America," he stated. "The plan is going ahead and, God willing, it is being implemented. But it is a huge task, which is beyond the will and comprehension of human beings. If God's help is with us, this will happen within a short period of time; keep in mind this prediction." The self-proclaimed Emir was thought to be in Konduz, according to an IRNA report.
  • Taliban commanders in southern Afghanistan have offered to deliver bin Laden to the United States. Strikes on buildings near Kabul on Tuesday and Kandahar on Wednesday resulted in the deaths of senior members of both al-Qaeda and Taliban. Northern Alliance opposition forces apparently captured some senior Taliban leaders. The group did not include Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden, but could provide intelligence on their whereabouts.
  • Documents giving details of how to build a nuclear bomb have been found in a looted Kabul house used by Al Qaeda.
  • Up to 20,000 Taliban fighters, including large numbers of Arabs, who are trapped in Kunduz were deciding whether to surrender to encircling Northern Alliance troops or face almost certain death. The presence of many Arabs and Chechens -- who will likely be executed if captured -- increases the probability of a fight to the finish. B52s were bombing enemy positions around the city.
  • According to Hamid Karzai, who is still not dead, the Taliban have retaken control of the central Afghan province of Uruzgan, though PakNews was reporting control had shifted back to the NA.
  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Islamic party of Afghanistan, said he hoped to create an alliance with Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar to form a coalition government in the country.
  • Fighting continued around Kandahar, according to an anti-Taliban leader who said he was trying to negotiate its surrender.

    Terror Networks
  • Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas released seven of their last 10 hostages, leaving them with only a Filipino nurse and an American missionary couple. The rebels hope to move faster through mountainous jungle as they dodge an intensifying pursuit. Some 7,000 troops have been chasing the rebels on the island of Basilan.
  • Israel raided two Palestinian-ruled towns in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, killing one and wounding at least 15 Palestinians in heavy fighting. Tanks also entered the village of Shawara, near Bethlehem, and eight people were arrested. Islamic Jihad terrorist Mahmoud Tawalbi was arrested yesterday by Palestinian police, then ordered released by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat after riots broke out in Jenin.
  • A new group of militants declared a "highest alert" in ethnic Albanian areas of Macedonia and warned government forces to keep out.
  • A bomb exploded next to an American Express Bank branch in Athens, blowing out the windows of a passing school bus carrying more than a dozen children and slightly injuring a bystander.
  • Chechen warlord Salman Raduyev went on trial in the Russian republic of Dagestan on charges of terrorism in connection with an armed attack that killed 78 people.
  • The Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility for the killing of a provincial judge in the northern Basque region and a car bomb in Madrid that injured some 95 people.
  • Ninety-four suspected Muslim militants of the previously unknown Al-Wa'ad group have been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist acts in Egypt and will be tried before a military court. A charge sheet filed by a military prosecutor included accusations that they planned to assassinate public figures, blow up and sabotage government establishments and possessed explosives and ammunition.

    The Alliance
  • Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the wonderful folks who brought us the Taliban, have devised a plan to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan after the pullout of the religious zealots from Kabul.
  • "Pakistan is responsible for the defeat of the Taliban by siding with Americans," said Munawaar Hasan, secretary-general of the Jamaat-e-Islami, or Islamic Party. The Afghan Defense Council, an umbrella of 35 Islamic and militant groups, will hold rallies and demonstrations across the country Friday to condemn the northern alliance's takeover of Kabul and show solidarity with the Taliban, Hasan said. Hasan is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, a key member of the defense council.

    Home Front
  • Russian President Putin is visiting President Bush at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
  • A Pakistani native whose house was searched by the FBI said yesterday that agents asked him about anthrax and other biological agents and seized his computer, medicines, and financial records.
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2001

    Afghanistan
    After years of a futile search for peace in Afghanistan, diplomats and others who hadn't actually done any fighting or lent any support scrambled to find a way to quickly establish a new government, catch up with the rapid military developments, and protect their own interests. Pakistan, creators of the Taliban, offered to contribute troops to a United Nations peacekeeping force to be deployed in Kabul, at the same time stressing that Pashtun representation in the post-Taliban setup was important. Pakistani jihadis of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi returned home from Cantor and Jalalabad. Sources said this was a strategic withdrawal. Perhaps they're going home to enlist. Hamid Karzai told Reuters from inside central Afghanistan that while Kandahar was still in Taliban hands, anti-Taliban forces had taken the airport with help from local people and Taliban deserters. Karzai, reported hanged by the Taliban, showed no signs of decomposition. CNN reported street fighting in Kandahar and said that the Taliban still control some neighborhoods, but that Taliban fighters were fleeing in droves. U.S. warplanes are continuing to bomb caves and tunnels where Taliban and al Queda leaders and soldiers might be seeking refuge, as they retreat from Afghanistan's major northern cities. Late Wednesday, Afghan time, the Northern Alliance ambassador in Tajikistan said Kandahar had fallen to the opposition and tribal rebels. Gul Agha Sherzai, a former governor of Kandahar, has led a force of 1,000 men across the border from Quetta in an attempt to force the collapse of the Taleban. He is expected to try and join forces with Hamid Karzai. Eight Western aid workers detained in Afghanistan and recently taken by the Taliban to Kandahar are on the way back to Kabul. Northern Alliance fighters have killed as many as 600 people since they seized Mazar-e Sharif on Friday. Western officials say that the majority of those killed are Pakistani and Kashmiri fighters as well as family members of Chechen fighters who have sided with the Taliban forces. Western officials say about 100 men are in custody.

    Terror Networks
    Detectives have arrested a 30-year-old man in London under the Terrorism Act. The arrest came after a request from the FBI in America was followed up, Scotland Yard said. The man was being questioned in connection with the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington. A Saudi official said that a Palestinian suicide bomber had carried out an attack last month in a Saudi Arabian shopping area that killed an American. 30-year-old Ayman bin Mohammed Amin Saeed Abu Zanad, a Palestinian carrying an Egyptian travel document, killed himself when he set off the bomb in the city of Khobar. The United States resorted to the "logic of brute force," Iraq's foreign minister Naji Sabri said, referring to the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan for harboring Osama bin Laden. "The world could be set on fire by a spark coming from the West, and it is in need of saving itself from falling into a bottomless abyss to which it is being pushed by policies that have their roots in conceitedness, arrogance, injustice and aggression." The Lebanese army has warned that it will respond as it sees fit to any aggression from inside Palestinian refugee camps. The warning came just hours after grenades were thrown at an army post outside the Ain el-Hilweh camp in south Lebanon, in what police said was the third such incident in the past two months. There were no reported injuries. About 3,000 Palestinians have attacked a Palestinian police station in the West Bank town of Jenin in protest at the arrest of a local militant leader. Police inside the station exchanged gunfire with the demonstrators outside and unarmed protesters pelted the building with stones. The protesters set fire to parts of the building and three grenades are reported to have hit the station. Adm. Dennis Blair, the commander of the US forces in the Pacific, is in the Phillipines to confer on operations against the Abu Sayyaf group. The Abu Sayyaf has so far this year kidnapped 77 people—three Americans and 74 Filipinos—from Palawan and Basilan provinces. The bandits also beheaded at least 18 hostages, including American Guillermo Sobero. He confirmed local reports that the al-Qaeda has been financing the Abu Sayyaf through Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, the brother-in-law of bin Laden.

    The Alliance
    Twenty-three Egyptian men accused of being gay were sentenced to jail terms from one to five years in a trial that human rights groups have denounced as persecution of people's sexual orientation. Egypt's foreign minister said his country is not obliged to follow US directives to freeze assets of suspected terrorist groups. Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri has also criticised Washington for drawing up a list of terrorist organisations and said such classification should only be made by the United Nations.

    Home Front
    President Bush signed a military order giving him the option of trying non-U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism before a special military commission as opposed to civilian courts. A man has been arrested for accepting donations from co-workers after falsely telling them he had to raise his sister's 7-year-old daughter because the mother was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. A man pleaded guilty to threatening to blow up oily preacher Jerry Falwell's church in response to Falwell's anti-gay remarks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. After six weeks of controversy, the Red Cross will donate all $543 million dollars Americans gave it for "The Liberty Fund" to the 9-11 families. Previously, the organization was only going to give approximately 25 percent of the donations to the families, skimming the rest for general Red Cross programs.

    Fifth Column
    Rev. Al Sharpton said that had he been in Congress, he would have opposed giving Bush what he called "unchecked authority" to launch a military attack. "You don't need more planes and missiles," he told reporters and 50 supporters at Greenville Memorial AME Zion church in north Charlotte. "You need more friends and allies." There was no elaboration on what he would do with them if he had them. -- A federal grand jury charged Clevelander Susan Refai for making false statements about her marriage to a man from Syria. The charge followed a TV news investigation into the roundup of her ex-husband, Mohammed Refai, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She admitted that she never really lived with Mohammed, contradicting what she once told immigration officials.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2001

    Analysis
    "We think a guerrilla war will be started now. I think this is the beginning of the war" Abdul Aziz Khan Khilji, a representative of radical Pakistani religious party Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam said as Kandahar fell without a fight to the Northern Alliance. "They have shifted to the hills," he said.

    He's wrong, of course. Successful guerilla wars start in the hills, with small units sheltered and supported by sympathetic civilians. They build their strength there, then form larger units and take the cities. Stragglers from defeated armies take to the hills and try and save themselves. If there had been any popular support for the Taliban within Afghanistan -- rather than in Pakistan, Riyadh, Berkeley and MIT -- this would have been an impossible campaign for the Northern Alliance to win, even with heavy US bombing.

    How did the Taliban lose that support? The burkas helped. The beards and turbans helped. Men seeing their wives beaten by religious police helped, as did the public executions and mutilations. Outlawing music, laughter and normal human actions was a big part of it. And the fact that the country was seriously in danger of starving had a lot to do with it; when a government is spending its time on religion and culture it's not concentrating on groceries.

    Overlaying it all was Brigade 55, the Arab praetorian guard of Osama bin Laden. It was a symbol of cultural imperialism that must have been galling to any Afghan with any pride -- and it's a truism that all the tribes making up the country are prideful people. And finally there were the truckloads of Pakistanis crossing the border, waving swords and brandishing guns to keep someone else's country following the Wahhabi hard line.

    The Northern Alliance actually held together -- and this was the posthumous gift of the martyred Masood -- as a military force. Had the war not started when it did, the alliance probably would have fallen apart, just as the government that will follow the United Front's victory may fall apart. But it remained a military force, as opposed to the Taliban, which was a militia more in the style of the PLO. There is a profound difference between a soldier and a man with a gun. In an alley, the man with the gun probably has more chance of winning a fight. On an actual battlefield, all things being equal, the soldier will win every time. It's a matter of discipline and teamwork. If the United Front is lucky it will remember always that it was thrown out of power when it became disunited.

    What kind of government will follow the United Front's victory? Who knows? Already Pakistan wants to insert a heavy hand. Saudi Arabia intends sending "aid." Hekmatyar, who introduced the disunity the last time around, could even come back. But it's not really the concern of the USA. Afghanistan isn't our country; if they'd like to set up a secular government and a free market we should help them do it, but we're under no obligation to do so. Our original intent was to flush out Osama bin Laden and his Arabs. The Arabs appear to be broken and Osama is in hiding, but likely to either be flushed out or killed -- if he hasn't already deserted his supporters.
    Front Lines
    Northern Alliance forces occupired Kabul after Taliban militia withdrew without a fight. Jubilant Kabul residents lined the streets in the north of the city to cheer the arrival of the Northern Alliance forces. The Alliance has no plans to rule the country and remains committed to a peace process under the ex-king, a senior official told AFP. "We are just here to keep security and stop criminals from bothering our citizens. We are still committed to the Council of National Unity which we have formed with the former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah," said Younis Qanooni, a key member in the anti-Taliban leadership. "Kandahar airport has fallen to the Northern Alliance Forces," the al-Jazeera station reported without quoting a source. Clashes broke out near the airport when 200 Taliban mutinied. The Taliban by late in the day appeared to have deserted Kandahar in the same manner they left Kabul. Jalalabad fell after an internal uprising in that city. Arab News reports that Stephanie Bunker, a spokeswoman for the office of the UN coordinator, cited reports from Mazar-e-Sharif of "incidents of violence and summary executions". Hanging from trees in Kabul were the bodies of some of the much-feared foreign fighters, usually Arabs, Pakistanis or Chechens, who were shot as they made a last stand.

    Enemy Territory
    RIA Novosti reports that self-proclaimed Emir of Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has fled to Pakistan. A Taliban official has stated that Omar, Osama bin Laden and other top militia officials were alive and safe, though he did not say where. In a radio address Omar ordered the Taliban to stand firm and warned that ''Any person who goes hither and thither is like a slaughtered chicken which falls and dies.'' As the Taliban retreated from Kabul, they took eight foreign aid workers accused of spreading Christianity in Afghanistan. The BBC has confirmed that Bamiyan was totally destroyed by the Taleban before they fled over the weekend. Evidence has also emerged of Bosnian-style ethnic cleansing in the region involving the execution of hundreds of local ethnic Hazara men. Exiled warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has backpedaled from his intent to fight the NA: "I didn't say I was joining the Taliban, but that the Afghan people had no choice but to defend their country and religion from aggression," he told Vremya Novostei.

    The Alliance
    Spanish police have arrested nine people accused of having links to the al-Qaeda network. The suspects had been recruiting people to attend training camps and providing false papers for them. Chechen rebels said they had executed Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Boryayev, a Russian army officer they were holding hostage.

    Home Front
    The Army will be deploying some elements of Third Corps out of Fort Hood to an unspecified location in the Central Command area of operations.

    Fifth Column
    As the United States escalates bombings in Afghanistan, student anti-war activists from several Western states met at UC Berkeley over the weekend in the first step to create a unified national student movement. Muslim leaders have warned the British government that its crackdown on terrorism and religious hatred could spark fresh race riots. In Bradford last week an Anglican vicar was stoned by masked Asian thugs when he stopped them from setting fire to his church. The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany issued a similar warning against "ongoing overreaction by police" in their nationwide sweeps against suspected Islamic extremists. The son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has cautioned Germany against sending troops to fight in the USA-led "war against terror." Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said that anger in the Islamic world is "boiling" and that joining the USA-led war effort could put Germany at risk of being attacked as America was on Sept. 11. Perhaps a bit behind the times, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility voted to support a halt in the bombing.

    Monday, November 12, 2001

    Front Lines
    The NA reported they have taken Herat and Konduz. It now controls nine provinces: Balkh, Faryab, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Takhar, Badghis, Samangan, Jauzjan and Sar-e-Pol. Northern Alliance forces captured the forward two lines of Taliban trenches on the front line to the north of Kabul as opposition troops advanced along the Bargram airfield. 1,300 Taliban fighters in position at one village overlooking the airbase surrendered, and many more were killed. President Bush is directing the United Front not to take Kabul, saying he wants the city to become a base for power-sharing among different tribes in the new Afghanistan. Three journalists were killed when NA inspection of Taliban lines troops turned into an ambush. Hours after the Taliban ranks had fled or deserted at Mazar, a force of 1,200 Pakistani and Arab fighters made a final stand at a military base two miles outside the city. Most died, although some were captured. Late Monday, dozens of Taliban vehicles were leaving Kabul in haste on the main highway leading westwards and then south toward Kandahar. Cars and battered Japanese pickups packed with Taliban with their belongings wrapped in sheets were seen leaving the city. In Islamabad, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the sole foreign envoy of the Taliban, denied the militia was withdrawing from Kabul. ``This news is false and baseless that the Taliban are leaving Kabul,'' the Taliban ambassador stated. ``We have decided to defend Kabul.''

    Enemy Territory
    Taliban Supreme Court judges have indefinitely postponed the trial of eight foreign aid workers, fearing their anger over the U.S. airstrikes would prevent them from making a fair ruling. Frontier Post reports that adherents of exiled King Zahir Shah are attempting to form a Pashtun "Southern Alliance" to oust the Taliban from the southern half of the country.

    The Alliance
    Dozens of Israeli soldiers entered Tell village west of Nablus after the army told Palestinian officials there that it planned to search and arrest militants. Soldiers surrounded the home of Hamas member Mohammed Hassan Reihan where "we heard an explosion followed by extensive shooting by the army," a witness said. The top Russian military commander in Chechnya that most federal troops will be withdrawn from the breakaway republic by next spring. Gen. Gennady Troshev said that only units stationed in Chechnya on a permanent basis will remain. A man with suspected links to the Red Brigades terrorists was arrested in connection with a bomb attack this year at a Rome building housing an institute promoting U.S.-Italian ties.

    Home Front
    President Bush turns his attention to preparations for a crucial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a weekend of diplomacy and tough words on the war on terrorism at the United Nations. Fox News is showing the crash of an American Airlines Airbus A300 in a residential neighborhood in Queens, New York City. At least a dozen homes were damaged or destroyed. 246 passengers, 9 crew killed. Mechanical mulfunction is suspected. The head of a money-transfer service that the United States accuses of diverting money to al-Qaida surrendered to Canadian police. Liban Hussein, 31, was taken into custody under an extradition warrant by Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Hussein and his brother, Mohamed, operate Barakaat North American Inc. out of offices in Ottawa and Massachusetts. Last week, the U.S. Treasury said the company's assets should be frozen for allegedly financing terrorism.

    5th Column
    America's war against Afghanistan is "a bigger terrorist act than what happened on September 11," Noam Chomsky stated in a rant in Chennai. European authorities say they have uncovered evidence of planning for chemical attacks by North African terrorist groups loosely affiliated with Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. In Boulder, Colorado, an exhibit of ceramic doinkers was stolen and replaced by an American flag. The library was criticized earlier this month when Library Director Marcelee Gralapp declined to hang a 10- by 15-foot flag in the lobby, saying some people might find it offensive. An explosion rocked a market on the outskirts of Vladikavkaz, the capital city of the North Caucasian republic of North Ossetia, killing six and injuring dozens. The Ossetian leadership claims the perpetrators of the terrorist attack want to destabilize the situation in the republic in view of the forthcoming elections in Ossetia.

    Sunday, November 11, 2001

    Front Lines
    Fox News reports that Northern Alliance forces claim they have taken the cities of Taloquan and Pol-e-Khomri and that they control five northern provinces. Troops were now advancing on western Badghis — a move that would allow them to link up with Gen. Ismail Khan near Herat. Representatives of Afghanistan's neighboring nations asked for the "immediate return" of international aid to Mazar-e-Sharif. In the city, "Men are flocking in barber shops to cut their beards, women are out in the streets, music is played everywhere, people are greeting each others, distributing sweets to people, mostly to the soldiers who liberated the city," a resident said. "Hundreds" of the fired-up Pakistani jihadis who had come to fight with the Taliban were deserted by their commanders in Mazar, to be rounded up and jailed by snickering NA fighters. A senior Taliban commander, Mohammad Islam Mohammadi, and “thousands of his fighters” crossed over to the NA during the push through Bamiyan. A series of bloody battles left the last major Taliban force in the north surrounded in the city of Kunduz. Reflecting the Taliban side of the news, Paknews.com reports that NA forces slaughtered women and children of Pashtoon village Kapri near Mazar Sharif. Frontier Post reports that American "commandos" have taken the control of Mazar and there are no NA troops to be seen in the city.

    Enemy Territory
    OSAMA BIN LADEN has for the first time admitted that his al-Qa'eda group carried out the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, reports London's Telegraph. A Kuwait NGO Lujnat Al-Dawa Al-Islamia has sent 15 trucks of emergency relief to Kabul. A Taliban spokesman speaking in Peshawar invited Hizb-e-Islami warlord Gulbadeen Hekmatyar to assist the Taliban in their fight against "infidel" forces. Hekmatyar offered his help on November 7th. Ayman Zawahri, the right-hand man of bin Laden, has vowed to continue holy war until all American troops had been expelled from Arab territories. Zawahri in the televised statement said the United States wanted to break Qaeda and the Taliban but its raids were only killing innocent Afghans. Taliban envoy Suhail Shaheen complained to IRNA about civilian casualties, charging that as many as 300 people were killed by bombing in southern Kandhar. He went on to accuse the US of using chemical warfare and planning to bring back the Communists in Afghanistan.

    The Alliance
    President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly yesterday. "In this world, there are good causes and bad causes, and we may disagree on where the line is drawn. Yet, there is no such thing as a good terrorist," he said. Britain is to be placed under a state of 'public emergency' as part of an unprecedented government move to allow internment without trial of suspected terrorists. Lebanon supports America in its war on terrorism, despite its refusal to call the Hezbollah terrorists and freeze the militant group's assets, says Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In Pakistan, Islamic cleric Maulana Samiul Haq was placed under house arrest after he led a nationwide strike and called for the ouster of Pakistan's government. He is the head of the Afghan Defense Council, a loose confederation of Islamic groups that organized Friday's strike to protest President Musharraf's support for the U.S. campaign against terrorism, and the bombing in Afghanistan. Syria has extradited to Egypt one of its most wanted Muslim militants and the former leader of an extremist group that massacred 58 foreign tourists in 1997. Rifa'i Ahmed Taha was handed over last month to Egypt, where he had been sentenced to death in absentia nine years ago.

    Home Front
    Some 3,000 people have called and e-mailed the American Red Cross in the last 10 days, demanding explanations of how the half-billion dollars raised by the charity after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being spent. The organization is offering to refund money to donors furious over the amount of donations diverted by the Red Cross to other uses. About 300 Saudi students have cut short their university studies in the United States and returned home. Authorities are dropping charges against all but one of the 18 firefighters arrested after a raucous protest at the World Trade Center site. The firefighters were arrested after five police officers were injured during a Nov. 2 rally, in which firefighters protested their numbers being reduced at the site. The one case that will not be dropped involved a firefighter accused of hitting a police officer. If you don't read this article on America's Worst Cliche on the FoxNews site, the Terrorists Will Have Won.

    Fifth Column
    A Kuwaiti appeals court upheld a 10-year prison sentence against five Iraqis accused of a plot to overthrow the state's rulers. Kuwaiti citizen Faleh Faheed Mahammad, 27, was also sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the plot. The five were arrested in May 2000 when Kuwait stopped two Iraqi spies trying to cross the border with anti-government pamphlets and illicit drugs. In Malaysia, militant groups, led by students who graduated from a madrasah in Pakistan, had planned to set up an Islamic state after they overthrow the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. PM Mahathir Mohamad said, however, the Government had succeeded in detecting their activities early and identifying those involved. A Saudi security source yesterday confirmed the arrest of three Kuwaitis on suspicion of involvement in militant activities, but dismissed as "idle press speculation" reports that the authorities had broken up cells of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.