Saturday, November 24, 2001

Afghanistan
  • At the United Nations, officials announced a one-day delay in a conference in Bonn aimed at paving the way for a new Afghan government following the Taliban's collapse. The meeting will now open Tuesday because of delays in getting participants to the venue in Bonn. Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani cannot simply reoccupy his old position as the country’s ruler, said Ahmed Wali Massood, who is also the brother of the Northern Alliance’s slain military chief. Massood said Thursday that Rabbani would be part of the transitional government to be created under the auspices of the United Nations - nothing more. Rabanni says he is ready to step down if next week's meeting in Bonn decides to name a new head of government.
  • More than 1,000 pro-Taliban fighters surrendered in Kunduz, including hundreds of foreigners loyal to Osama bin Laden. Other foreigners remained there, vowing to fight to the end. Alliance commanders had said they expected the Taliban command to complete the surrender of the city by Monday under a deal negotiated in recent days.
  • At Maidan Shahr an estimated 2,000 Taleban fighters handed over their heavy weapons after the two sides agreed to end several days of fighting. The commander of the Taleban forces at Maidan Shahr, Haji Ghulam Mohammed Maidani, told the BBC that his fighters were being allowed to return to their homes.
  • Advance elements of an alliance force have entered Helmand province, to the west Kandahar. The Taliban reported they had captured 25 opposition fighters who attacked them near the border between Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
  • Fighting was also reported near Bala Zare, 60 miles east of Kandahar. Fighters under former governor Gul Agha, attacked Taliban positions with air support from U.S. warplanes, but were driven back and suffered heavy casualties.
  • A senior militia commander in the eastern city of Jalalabad said that he believed Osama Bin Laden was moving at night on horseback and sleeping in caves during the day. Hazrat Ali, a senior anti-Taliban militia commander, said that he had received reports from trusted informants that Bin Laden was seen at an al-Qaeda and Taliban base called Tora Bora, high in the mountains, as recently as three days ago. "We are Afghans, and Afghan people do not want foreigners in our country. When the villagers see Bin Laden, they tell us," Ali said. He claimed almost everyone in the country knows of the $25 million reward for information leading to Bin Laden's capture.
  • A convoy of 47 trucks carrying World Food Programme (WFP) supplies has reached Kabul despite an ambush by masked bandits during the journey from Peshawar in northern Pakistan. The UN agency's delivery - 1,000 tonnes of wheat - is being stored in a warehouse ready for distribution to the worst-affected areas north and west of the city. Some of the trucks were stopped near the town of Sarobi by robbers who stole money and personal possessions from the drivers.
  • At least 35 US special forces soldiers were killed and many injured in a firefight this week with pro-Taliban troops in southern Afghanistan, the Pakistani newspaper The News reported. The US Defense Department dismissed the report as "absolutely false."
  • A female journalist working for the independent British news network ITN was injured near Mazar-i-Sharif today when a Taliban soldier blew himself up with a hand grenade.

    Terror Networks
    At least 10 people were killed and 32 wounded today in explosions and shootouts in Kashmir.
  • Malaysian police arrested renegade Philippine governor Nur Misuari and six supporters when they tried to slip into the country by boat early Saturday. Misuari and his supporters will be turned over to the Philippine government "as soon as possible."

    The Alliance
    The United States and Pakistan are at odds over the fate of Pakistani jehadis trapped in Kunduz. Differences surfaced over Pakistan's insistence that its jehadis be released and sent home to face legal proceedings, which was rejected by US-led coalition. About 1300 of the fighters holed up in Konduz are believed to be Pakistanis.
  • Tajikistan is expected to allow the deployment of French fighter planes at a Tajik base for operations in Afghanistan. The six fighter jets and two refuelling planes and about 200 crew and support personnel would join operations against Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network.
  • Friday, November 23, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • Forces under Northern Alliance Gen Dawood attacked Konduz from the east, while those under Gen Dostum moved in from the west. Inside the city, al-Qaeda fanatics were preparing to kill Taleban defectors. Increasing numbers of refugees claim that Pakistani transport planes have been landing at the city’s airfield, bringing American dollars for the trapped Taleban commanders and evacuating young Pakistani and Punjabi fighters. "We have chased Taliban from the hills dominating Khanabad, about 20 kilometers east of Kunduz," Sadreddine, a Northern Alliance commander stated.
  • Northern Alliance troops faced a setback near Maidan Shahr in Wardak Province when heavy fire forced them to call off an offensive aimed at dislodging two warlords and several hundred pro-Taliban soldiers refusing to surrender. The clashes cut the main road linking north and south Afghanistan. No traffic has gone through because of the fighting. Northern Alliance commanders and local residents said that further to the west of Maidan Shahr, Hazara fighters who had been battling the Taliban had now switched sides.
  • Taliban troops defending Kandahar may have 500 tanks and are determined to defend the city to their last breath.Mullah Bismillah, in charge until two weeks ago of a Taliban ammunition depot in Kandahar, said Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and his hardcore fighters were waiting for the start of the ground war.
  • Osama bin Laden left Jalalabad with a convoy of more than 100 trucks and armored vehicles the night the city fell. They were bound for the al-Qa'eda base at Tora Bora in the nearby White Mountains
  • Members of al-Qaeda detained in Afghanistan could be held in US territories in the Pacific. Areas being considered include Guam and Wake Island.

    Terror Networks
  • A Libyan man arrested for suspected links to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network was extradited from Germany to Italy for trial. Lased Ben Henin, 32, was arrested in October near his Munich apartment in raids coordinated with Italian authorities. Two Tunisians were arrested in Italy in the same operation.
  • Fazal-e-Raziq , a suspected bin Laden aide who was arrested by Pakistani security officials in Peshawar earlier this week, has been shifted to Rawalpindi for interrogation. Raziq is suspected of having close links with Osama bin Laden. He is being questioned by a joint Pakistani-US FBI team.
  • Police and soldiers in the Philippines arrested two Jordanians and an Iraqi in raids on suspicion of links with international terrorists. Bomb making materials, and altered and fake passports were seized from the three men. The unidentified Jordanians were arrested in Manila. The Iraqi was arrested in his home in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao province, about 540 miles southeast of Manila. An army spokesman identified the Iraqi as Mohammad Sabri Selamah. Selamah, married to a Filipino Muslim woman, has taught since 1998 at the Islamic Koranic Memorization Center in the village of Simuay near a camp of the Muslim secessionist rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
  • An Indian army officer and two Muslim girls were among 11 people killed in clashes in occupied Kashmir. The officer died in a two-hour encounter with Mujahideen late on Wednesday at Watsar village, near Handwara township, 85 kilometres north of Srinagar.
  • Maoist guerrillas attacked police stations and government installations in Nepal, two days after pulling out of a four-month cease-fire following unsuccessful peace talks. No deaths or injuries were reported. Police said the rebels rampaged in at least 15 towns across the Himalayan kingdom, firing guns and stealing weapons from at least one police station.
  • Assailants firing at close range killed a traffic police officer and wounded another in the Basque region of Spain in an attack blamed on the separatist group ETA.

    The Alliance
  • The Taliban embassy in Pakistan was officially closed.
  • More than 300 Indonesian jihadis who had joined the Taliban have entered Pakistan.
  • Somalia's only internet company and a key telecoms business have been forced to close because the United States suspects them of terrorist links. The two firms, Somalia Internet Company and al-Barakaat, both appear on a US list of organisations accused of funnelling money to the al-Qaeda network. Both companies have stated they are not linked to terrorists.

    Fifth Column
  • U.S. writer Gore Vidal has denounced Washington for waging what he called ``a perpetual war for perpetual peace'' and said American aggression was only nurturing fresh hatreds. In a scathing attack on U.S. foreign policy, Vidal told Reuters that the United States would have been better served trying to buy peace with Osama bin Laden rather than send in the bombers to try and kill him.
  • Thursday, November 22, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • Talks on the future of Afghanistan have been switched to Bonn from Berlin, the United Nations.
  • Taliban commander Mullah Sazil Muslimyar said he was ready to surrender, but was negotiating how. "Tomorrow we will launch an attack from four sides if they do not surrender,'' United Front Gen. Daoud Khan said. Sky News broadcast television pictures it said showed hundreds of Taliban fighters surrendering. The broadcast from the edge of Kunduz showed hundreds of men in turbans, some of them armed, appearing to prepare for the surrender of the Taliban to the opposition Northern Alliance. Uzbek television reported that the Northern Alliance has announced the capture of the city. The television said the announcement was made by General Rashid Dostum. More than 10,000 Taliban fighters had surrendered. The Taliban denied the surrender, the Al-Jazeera satellite television channel reported. "The office of Mullah Omar strongly denied that and the Taliban army chief Akhdar Othmani said the information was totally false," correspondent Mohammad al-Shuli reported from the southeastern city of Spin Boldak. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf expressed deep concern over the safety of Afghan and non-Afghan Taliban in the Kunduz area, who reportedly wish to surrender to the UN or a neutral authority.
  • Three more foreign journalists were killed in Afghanistan, bringing to 10 the total number of journalists killed in the war-torn country in just over a week, Iranian state radio reported.
  • Troops loyal to Abdul Qadeer, the new Governor of Jalalabad, arrested former Taliban Commander Sarwar and twelve associates after a brief skirmish. Sawar was recently sent to take over Torkham checkpoint at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border after Qadeer switched his loyalties from Taliban.
  • Northern Alliance troops launched an attack on Taliban positions near Maidan Shahr, near Kabul. The Alliance rained rocket, mortar and artillery fire on some 1,200 Taliban members. The Alliance had been seeking to persuade the Taliban to surrender Maidan Shahr since it captured Kabul. An unknown number of foreigners, including Pakistanis and Arabs, are fighting alongside Afghan Taliban in Maidan Shahr.
  • Despite the looming prospect of complete annihilation of the movement he founded in 1993, Mullah Mohammad Omar has expressed concern that "some Afghan men are wearing their turbans to the side or too far back". He declared the practice "vulgar and un-Islamic" in a rallying cry to the fast-disappearing ranks of Taliban officials and gunmen.

    Terror Networks
  • Nur Misuari, of the Moro National Liberation Front, has reportedly fled the island of Jolo for the Malaysian State of Sabah and was trying to reach -- where else? -- Saudi Arabia.
  • Two men appeared in court charged with bomb attacks in London and Birmingham that have been blamed on Irish Republican Army dissidents. Robert Hulme, 22, and Noel Maguire, 32, are the first to be charged from a group of eight people arrested in the past week in connection with a string of attacks in Britain.
  • The Philippine military said the number of Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the southern Philippines has gone down from more than 1,200 in June to about 600 this month because of the government's relentless campaign against the extremist group.

    The Alliance
  • Jordanian troops are scheduled to leave for Afghanistan “within the next two days” as part of UN peacekeeping forces, but solely for humanitarian missions.
  • Poland agreed to send around 300 troops to support military operations in Afghanistan in response to a request from the United States.
  • France plans to commit some 5,000 troops in all to the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan.
  • Canada has announced the readiness of his country to send 1,000 troops to Afghanistan -- if nobody minds. Minister told reporters in Ottawa that they would not send their troops to a country where they are not welcomed.
  • India and Pakistan exchanged artillery fire along Kashmir, and blamed each other today for the flare-up which killed one woman.

    Home Front
  • A 94-year-old woman from rural Connecticut died of inhalation anthrax, five days after she was admitted to a hospital. The source of her infection, distant from other recent bioterror attacks, remained a mystery.
  • Wednesday, November 21, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • It was unclear whether Hamid Karzai, who is still not dead, would be able to attend talks in Berlin on the new Afghan government himself. He has been in Afghanistan, trying to lure Pashtuns away from the Taliban. "If he doesn't make it, somebody else can go," said his younger brother and spokesman, Ahmed Karzai, concentrating on the business at hand.
  • Osama bin Laden has told aides to kill him before he is captured by American troops. Bin Laden has informed a number of people close and to him that he was living out his last weeks or days and has left a videotaped testament which is to be broadcast after his death. The Taliban says it has lost all contact withbin Laden and has no idea where he is.
  • Northern Alliance General Nazir Mahmad have given Taliban holding out in Kunduz until Thursday morning to give themselves up. The ultimatum comes as talks on the surrender of the city appear to come to a standstill. US warplanes are continuing to bomb the area, where local sources say between 3,000 and 9,000 fighters are trapped. Alliance Gen. Mohammed Daoud said thousands of Taliban have defected from the city in recent days.
  • It is time to "forget" about the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, Syed Tayyad Agha, spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar blathered, as they have been superseded by the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan. Agha said the Taliban have no plans to abandon Kandahar and denied reports that local elders had asked them to leave. "How could they ask for such a thing against the Taliban?" he asked, revealing that he doesn't get out much.
  • El Mundo correspondent Julio Fuentes, who was murdered on the road to Kabul, reported on 300 phials of nerve gas discovered at an abandoned al-Qaida base known as Farm Hada, 20 km south of Jalalabad. His report, published yesterday, stated that they were in boxes of 10 which bore, in Russian cyrillic script, the words "SARIN/V-GAS".
  • Ismail Khan, the who took Herat form the Taliban, met with about 80 women teachers to discuss reconstruction.
  • An explosion has rocked the compound of the Presidential Palace in Kabul. AFP news agency reports the explosion was caused by two artillery shells, adding that a palace guard says one civilian was injured. "It was not a large explosion," said Fakhroudin, a palace guard. "Just two kids visiting their uncle who works here, they touched the shells and they went off." He said one of the children was injured but not seriously. ("Mahmood! Put that thing down! You'll put somebody's eye out!")

    Terror Networks
  • Khalid Abu-al-Dahab, 37, an Egyptian- born U.S. citizen, says he recruited 10 U.S. citizens into Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization during his 12-year residence in California. Bin Laden personally congratulated the Silicon Valley car salesman and confessed member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization. In his confession to an Egyptian military court, Dahab said he and another admitted terrorist from Silicon Valley, former U.S. Army Sgt. Ali Mohamed, had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden.
  • Israeli commandos seized a Palestinian policeman and his brother in a sweep for militants in a West Bank village.
  • Fresh fighting broke out on Jolo island in the southern Philippines as the death toll in an uprising by Moro National Liberation Front gunmen loyal to a rebellious Nur Misuari rose to over 100.
  • Indian border guards shot dead 12 jihadis in two separate incidents in Kashmir and exchanged fire with Pakistani regulars along the international border.

    The Alliance
  • Protests have begun in Japan over the Government's decision to send 1,300 members of its self defence forces to support the campaign in Afghanistan. One group of demonstrators has begun a hunger strike. I'm having a bagel for breakfast. What are you having? Sure is tasty!

    Home Front
  • An Indonesian man, Agus Budiman, named in FBI documents as a contact for airline hijacker Mohammed Atta, was arrested and charged with helping obtain false Virginia identification for a contact for Osama bin Laden. Budiman appeared before a U.S. magistrate on a criminal complaint charging him with helping Mohammad Bin Nasser Belfas obtain a Virginia driver's license.
  • Portland, Oregon, police have refused a U.S. Justice Department request for help in interviewing Middle Eastern immigrants as part of its sweeping terrorism investigation, saying it would violate state law.
  • With too much time on its hands and nothing better to do, Montgomery County, Maryland, has approved one of the most restrictive anti-smoking measures in the nation, allowing residents to be fined up to $750 if neighbors complain about the smell of cigarette smoke from their homes.
  • In Nevada, a former topless dancer who staged striptease shows to promote her first bid, is running for governor of Nevada. Barbara Scott is the first declared Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn. Yup. The country's pretty near back to normal.
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • The United Nations and Afghanistan's ethnic groups are to meet in Berlin on Monday for their first discussions on building a broad-based government for the country. Watch the silverware, Abdullah.
  • Up to 1,600 Marines are preparing to join hundreds of U.S. commandos for a final drive to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Afghan tribal chiefs have begun cave-by-cave searches in three sectors of Afghanistan. U.S. special operations forces are supporting the searches by providing new intelligence of bin Laden's suspected whereabouts, sealing off escape routes, and calling in airstrikes to destroy underground hideouts.
  • Gen. Khan Daoud, an alliance commander on the eastern flank of Kunduz, said the alliance is willing to grant the foreign Taliban fighters safe passage out of the country if they will abandon the city, raising the prospect of a international tactical nightmare for the USA. Al-Qaeda are reported to have killed 370 Afghans in the Taliban's ranks so far. More are probably coming; the UN is unable to take charge of them.
  • In the Fuehrerbunker in Kandahar, Mullah Akhtar Usmani has been named to play the Matin Bormann role to Taliban's Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in case of the latter's death. No word on who gets the Eva Braun part.
  • Taliban troops repulsed an attack by forces of a former Afghan commander in the Helmand province of Afghanistan today, killing 30 anti-Taliban fighters. Former mujahedin commander Abdul Rehman launched the attack on a Taliban position at Murja, 40 kilometers southwest of Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province.
  • At Herat, Ismail Khan's men have set up a checkpoint on the border with Iran and taken control of the main hospital and prison. He is planning local elections but said he has no "desire for power'' himself. Excited crowds at the city's main bazar jostled for a chance to buy bright yellow packets of U.S. food aid.
  • Joma Khan Namangani, the Taliban commander for Afghanistan’s northern provinces and al-Qaeda commander was buried in Logar province. He was a member of the Uzbekistan Islamic Movement led by Qari Tahir Jan Yoldash. He was killed at a meeting in Kabul, probably the same one that killed Mohammed Atef. Nice shootin', Tex! (Note: the account in Pravda says he was killed at Konduz. WSJ quotes a Reuters article that says Pakistan has spirited him to fight another day.)
  • Pakistani drivers who work for the World Food Program agreed to restart convoys to Kabul and Jalalabad. However, no trucks were expected to travel to southern Afghanistan because security conditions are unfavorable.

    Terror Networks
  • Abu Qatada, 40, a Muslim cleric living in London has been named by the Spanish authorities as a pivotal figure in the al-Qa'ida terror network in Europe. Qatada, a Palestinian with Jordanian nationality, is named as al-Qa'ida's "spiritual leader" in Europe and one of its key financiers.
  • Spanish authorities have smashed a fraud ring based in the Canary Islands that they believe may have links to Lebanese militant group Hizbollah and the pro-Syrian Shi'ite Amal movement. The two-year investigation led by high-profile High Court judge Baltasar Garzon ended with the arrest of 17 people including the suspected leader of the ring, Lebanese citizen Mohammed Jamil Derbah.
  • Peru arrested a Pakistani man on terrorism charges in coordination with U.S. and European intelligence agencies and Interpol. Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said the 24-year-old man was arrested in southern Peru and was being brought to Lima for investigation. He gave no details of his alleged crime. Officials could not supply his name.
  • Al Chaidar, a spokesman for Darul Islam, an Indonesian Islamic group that claims to have links with al-Qaida, claims it trained dozens of foreign volunteers in handling weapons and explosives in secret camps in Java and the Maluku islands.
  • Indian troops shot dead 11 Mujahideen in three encounters around Srinagar, while seven civilians were injured in two landmine explosions. Six gunmen killed belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen group.
  • An explosion at a bus station in Algiers caused structural damage and injured up to 18 people. The blast happened at the Tafourha bus station in central Algiers at the height of morning rush hour.
  • The Moro National Liberation Front has abandoned its 1996 peace agreement with the Phillipine government, said a spokesman for Nur Misuari, a former rebel leader and the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. About 600 gunmen from the rebel faction attacked an army camp in the deadliest fighting since the peace deal took effect.
  • Police in Northern Ireland arrested one man when a patrol stopped a car containing several hundred pounds of explosives.
  • An apparent assassination attempt was made on Saudi Arabian King Fahd earlier this month as his motorcade rode through Riyadh. Security guards took the driver into custody, and two days after the attack, a Saudi newspaper reported that three Kuwaitis were arrested for unspecified "militant activities."
  • Russian peacekeepers serving in the area of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict were attacked by ten to twenty gunmen near the village of Khudoni.

    The Alliance
  • Afghan refugees face a backlash from Pashtuns in northern Pakistan. Nearly 10, 000 Pashtuns crossed into Afghanistan to fight for the Taleban, following appeals by Sufi Muhammad, leader of the Tehreek-e-Nifaaz-e-Shariat-e Muhammadi. It is estimated that at least seven hundred men from Maidan, in Dir district, are missing. Another four hundred from the Shireen Gul, Dog Dara and Shaur areas of the same district, are unaccounted for. Many are presumed to have been killed. Wounded jihadis claimed fleeing Taleban left them to the mercy of the Northern Alliance and that the locals "loathed" them.
  • Malaysia will consider joining a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan if asked to do so.
  • Human rights organisation Helping Hand International expressed concern over US bombarding in Afghanistan and has appealed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to play a role in stopping it. Chairman Habibullah Khan in a letter addressed to the UN secretary general expressed apprehension that if the bombing continues 150 million [sic!] Afghan people would perish. (Note: Afghanistan's population is estimated between 22 and 37 million).
  • 15 people occupied an office of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, protesting the recent parliamentary vote to provide up to 3,900 soldiers for the US-led anti-terror alliance. The protesters released a declaration, condemning "the parliamentary approval of German military participation".
  • A French nightclub was ordered by a court to scrap a planned bin Laden costume party after United Airlines complained the idea was in bad taste. The nightclub, La Makina, in Nalliers, invited club-goers to come dressed as members of Afghanistan's Taliban militia or Osama bin Laden, for the evening.

    Home Front
  • Military fighter planes escorted a helicopter out of the restricted air space surrounding the Camp David presidential retreat. It was the latest in a series of incursions since restricted airspace around the compound was broadened following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, from a radius of five miles to eight.
  • The White House has canceled public holiday tours, citing security concerns.
  • An elderly woman who lives on her own in the farm country of southwestern Connecticut has inhalation anthrax. The patient, who is in her 90s, was hospitalized in critical condition. He said more test results were pending and there was no indication of a criminal act.
  • Playboy magazine is offering a free pen-pal program that lets soldiers communicate with its nude models. "Operation Playmate" allows military personnel to e-mail letters to the magazine, each of which will be answered with an autographed photo and message from a Playmate.

    Fifth Column
  • School officials in Massachussetts are being asked to justify a recent speech given by Howard Zinn at a high school in which he equated the U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The far-leftist historian and former Boston University professor stated that "The terrorists of Sept. 11 did a horrible thing to us, so we do terrible things to the people of Afghanistan. That is immoral and puts us on the same level as a terrorist.''
  • Qaiser Bengali, an economist and director Social Policy Development Centre, while speaking at a seminar on "Clash of civilizations", organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad declared the US as "number one terrorist" in the world which had caused inexpressible death and destruction to the world throughout its history. "Whether it was Vietnam or Chile, it (America) resorted to relentless killings all over the world to safeguard its national interests", he criticized. It was the only country which had used nuclear and chemical weapons to get its plans materialized, he said.
  • Monday, November 19, 2001

    Analysis: Followup
    Appears I'm not the only one who feels that way.
    Analysis: Konduz delenda est.
    Konduz must be destroyed. Kandahar, too.

    If we are involved in Afghanistan to destroy Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and the bulk of al-Qaeda is trapped in those two cities, the two cities must be destroyed. Either that or the al-Qaeda can surrender and take their chances with the Afghans. Surrender under terms -- the terms including safe conduct for the Arab, Chechen, and sundry other thugs and murderers making up Osama's praetorian guard -- would be a renunciation of our stated objectives.

    That also brings up the question: safe conduct where? The Pakistanis are no doubt hoping to return to Pakland and blend into the Pashtun countryside, awaiting the next big jihad, either in Afghanistan or Kashmir. But they are what might be called Second Tier gunmen, blood-curdling in their rhetoric, not so hot when it comes to live rounds coming close to them. It is conceivable that an agreement could be reached if it involved their internment under third-party supervision. The Pakistani government would, however, be unlikely to agree to this, given considerations of national pride.

    Russia certainly doesn't want her Chechens back. Dagestan is running short on space for graveyards. There's a housing shortage in Russia proper and she can't afford to have too many more apartment buildings blown up. The Arab countries seem to have written off their contribution to the late festivities, so there's really no place for the Arab killers to go, either.

    Perhaps they could all surrender to the USA. We could set up internment camps like we had in WWII, perhaps in ANWR if the caribou don't mind. Mr Bush has already set up the machinery for military tribunals, so we could sort through the catchings at our liesure. We could put the worst down like dogs, to the accompaniment of candle-light vigils by Danny Glover, and we could jail the rest for periods up to and including eternity. This would give Alan Dershowitz something to do: contesting the legal validity of the tribunals while indulging any torture to which the inmates might be subjected.

    The al-Qaeda could also, when they're done executing civilians and fellow Taliban-leaning fighters around them, surrender to the Northern Alliance. When not squabbling among themselves the United Front might set up internment camps just like we could, though perhaps a bit more spartan of aspect. They have learned judges and probably even a few pet weasels like Prof. Dershowitz, who could take the side of the killers against their own. And the United Front would be just as capable of hanging the worst of the lot and incarcerating the remainder as we would. They would hang a few more than we, but probably not all of them; just the lucky ones.

    Those appear to be the available options. No one else has a valid interest in the problem. And the solutions imply that either the USA or the United Front government wants to do it. For us, we've just spent a lot of money mounting a major military operation in Afghanistan and our economy isn't feeling too hot. We really should be economizing, so we don't want to do it. The United Front is still of shaky legitimacy and compared to the USA they've always been broke. So they can't afford it. Besides, either of us spending the money would imply we're remotely interested in what happens to five or six thousand blood-thirsty killers.

    Konduz delenda est. Kandahr, too.
    Afghanistan
  • UN envoy Francesc Vendrell sought Pashtun support for a post-Taliban coalition in Afghanistan, as the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance signalled its approval for an all-party summit in a neutral country. The alliance had previously insisted that any inter-Afghan conference be held in Kabul, but on Sunday its representative to the United Nations, Haron Amin, said it would be amenable to a European venue.
  • U.S. warplanes and Northern Alliance artillery continued pounding the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the siege of Kunduz.
  • FoxNews this morning reported that Mullah Omar had reneged on an agreement to give up control of Kandahar because of a dream he had, in which Kandahar remained under his control for the rest of his life.
  • An Iranian daily reported today that Osama bin Laden has separated himself from Taliban but is still in Afghanistan. The daily Entekhab quoted a Taliban official as saying that bin Laden was in southwest Afghanistan trying to form new guerrilla groups to confront United States forces.
  • The French military was negotiating with Northern Alliance leaders ahead of a planned deployment of French troops in Mazar-i-Sharif.
  • Four international journalists -- two from Reuters, one from the Spanish daily El Mondo, and one from Corriere della Sera -- were stopped by armed men along along a road between Jalalabad and Kabul and apparently murdered.
  • A near riot broke out in front of Kabul's main cinema as Afghan men fought their way in to see the first film shown in public since the Taliban took the city in 1996.

    Terror Networks
  • The United States identified Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and Sudan as states that are developing germ warfare programs but refused to say whether any may have assisted Osama bin Laden in his quest for biological weapons.
  • Moro National Liberation Front rebels attacked an army camp in the southern Philippines in the deadliest fighting since a peace deal took effect five years ago. The military said four soldiers died in a mortar attack, and 51 rebels were killed in an army counterattack.
  • A unit of undercover Israelis in the Gaza Strip seized Abed Rabbo Abu Khussah, a member of the Hamas accused of killing two Israelis. Tanks entered Palestinian territory north of Gaza City, killing two Palestinian policemen and damaging a private school after mortar shells and a crude rocket were fired toward the Israeli settlement of Dugit. Troops killed two armed Palestinians heading to the settlement. In the past month, IDF forces have killed 20 terrorists and their accomplices, who intended to carry out eight suicide bombings, shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria, and plant six roadside bombs.
  • Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, in Damascus, stated that Hizbollah and any other Lebanese group has the right to resist the occupation of its territory, in line with United Nations resolutions.
  • A Russian special envoy said it was up to rebel Chechens to make the next move after ground-breaking weekend talks, but called on them to drop rhetoric and make concrete proposals. It's probably like trying to negotiate with Communists or something.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba vowed today to continue targeting Indian forces in the disputed region of Kashmir as the death toll from an attack on an army camp rose to 19. About 30 people were wounded in the assault on an army convoy that had stopped for lunch at the camp near Ramban, which lies along a key highway linking Kashmir's two main cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
  • The uncle of a Lebanese man suspected of hijacking United Airlines Flight 93 during the Sept. 11 attacks on the US has questioned the authenticity of a tape recorded aboard the plane, as well as a farewell letter to his nephew’s German girlfriend which was sent a day before the terror attack. Y'see, there was this Jewish-Zionist imposter, and...

    The Alliance
  • Pakistan no longer recognises the Taliban government in Afghanistan but has not severed diplomatic relations with the Islamic militia. Pakistan could not quite bring itself, however, to recognize the United Front government of President Rabanni.
  • Pakistani Ambassador to Tehran Javed Hussein termed Iran and Pakistan as a "nation" for their long-term historic and cultural relations. In a meeting with OCIC head Hojjatoleslam Mohammadi Araqi, he emphasized the necessity of Iran-Pakistan cooperation to establish an stable peace in the war-stricken Afghanistan. Araqi suggested that the two countries' closer ties "would neutralize all the enemies' plots." It's gonna be a long peace process.
  • Supporters of Shariah, founded by the Egyptian-born Sheikh Abu Hamza and linked to Osama bin Laden, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to contribute to 'jihad' in Kashmir and Afghanistan by defrauding British taxpayers in a string of sophisticated benefit swindles. Anti-terrorist squad officers are also examining the accounts of a government scheme to provide funding for adult education following suspicions that Islamic militants were exploiting it for their own ends.
  • Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, has said the Taliban had betrayed the people of Afghanistan, only adding to their misery and suffering.“I think the Taliban have betrayed their own people by not being engaged with the world."
  • The fledgling government of Somalia is making efforts to distance itself from charges of harboring terrorists.
  • Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has rejected a move by the U.N. war crimes court to name two attorneys he can meet in private. The tribunal has named left of Chomsky, dictator lovin' former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark and British lawyer John Livingston as advisers who will be allowed private meetings with Milosevic. There's something stinky about this; we're just not sure what it is, unless it's just Criminal Justice as Performance Art.

    Home Front
  • An anthrax-laced letter sent to Senator Patrick Leahy and discovered in a batch of quarantined congressional mail last week could strengthen the theory that an American extremist is behind the biological terrorism. On the other hand, the anthrax factory found in Kabul controlled by mullah Qari Abdullah may put to rest theories that the epidemic was of domestic origin.
  • The American Red Cross is coming under increasingly harsh scrutiny for its handling of money donated for victims not only of 9-11, but also of at least a half dozen disasters over the past decade. In the same boat is the United Way, which has funneled donations to causes like hate crime legislation, expanded welfare, gun control and nationalized health care.

    Fifth Column
  • More than a hundred people marched in the streets of southwest Houston on Sunday, protesting the bombings in Afghanistan and U.S. anti-terrorism laws they say threaten the civil liberties of Arabs and Muslims in this country. The march was organized by Houston ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a Ramsey Clark front organization, and Houston Coalition for Justice, Not War.
  • Sunday, November 18, 2001

    Afghanistan
  • A U.N. envoy was trying to persuade the Northern Alliance to meet soon with rival tribes to plan a broad-based government, as the Taliban held on to their shrinking pockets of the country. Afghan and foreign forces lined up against the Taliban squabbled over the country's future and whether international peacekeepers should be deployed. Diplomats and military planners are mapping out a peacekeeping strategy that entails deploying a Turkish-led multinational force to police Kabul and dispatching British and French troops to take control of two key airfields.
  • A top-level Russian delegation left for Kabul today. Representatives of embassies in Tajikistan of India, Iran, the US, Russia, China and Kazakhstan intend to fly to Kabul on Wednesday to meet with president Burhanuddin Rabbani. Former Afghan President Sibghatullah Al-Mojaddedi said he planned to return to Afghanistan soon to help to shape a government.
  • The Taliban sought UN intervention to negotiate the surrender of over 20,000 fighters, mostly Arabs and Pakistanis, surrounded by Northern Alliance forces in Kunduz province but the world body has turned it down. The Taliban has offered to surrender to commander Mahidullah if the alliance guaranteed the safety of non-Afghans fighting with the Taliban and if the surrender were witnessed by United Nations representatives.
  • FoxNews reports Kabul television is back on the air after a five-year station break.
  • The Taliban pulled out of the western province of Farah, leaving the main city in near anarchy, with looting and fighting among various groups in which several people had been killed.
  • Mullah Mohammed Omar was still in control of Kandahar but shuffled administrative posts. Omar is holding talks with the Norzai tribe in Kandahar to divide rule with the tribal leaders. 80 to 100 leaders met in Quetta to give the Taliban an ultimatum: surrender within a week or face an attack by Pashtun tribesmen from six southern Afghan provinces. The tribal leaders have been coordinating their efforts with Afghanistan's exiled king, Mohammed Zahir Shah. Some high-ranking Taliban officials in Kandahar have agreed with supporters of the former king to join a national reconciliation government. Late Sunday, PakNews reported that the Taliban have evacuated most of the city but one group has defied Taliban's order to retreat. Taliban leadership including supreme commander Mullah Omar were reported to have left Kandahar. Tribal leaders offered Mullah Omar the opportunity to surrender himself and accept political asylum in Pakistan. No word on his response. The Taliban were reported pulling out toward the Iran border.
  • The Taliban said Osama bin Laden had left the territory they controlled and they did not know where he was. Interior Minister Younis Qanooni said bin Laden is still in Kandahar province in Maruf, some 130 kilometers east of Kandahar, where he has training camps and underground bunkers.

    Terror Networks
  • In one room in an al-Qaeda Kabul safe house lay business cards marked "4-U Enterprises--Amr H. Hamed" with an address in British Columbia, Canada. A British newspaper has identified Hamed as a suspect in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa. He is reported to have died in retaliatory U.S. missile strikes on Afghanistan that same year. 4-U Enterprises was incorporated in 1998 and appears to be a shell company operating through a rented post office box at a British Columbia convenience store. Hamed and Essam Marzouk, an Egyptian and Islamic Jihad member linked to bin Laden, are listed as directors. Marzouk left Canada in 1998 and was extradited later to Egypt, where he is serving a 15-year jail sentence for terrorism activities.
  • The son of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Egyptian Muslim cleric jailed in the United States for conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks, has been reportedly captured or killed in Afghanistan while pursuing the family business.
  • A Spanish magistrate filed formal charges on against eight suspected al-Qaida members accused of playing a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • A Chechen rebel envoy left Moscow after the first talks with Russian officials since war resumed in the rebel region more than two years ago.
  • Officials in Jordan arrested three men accused of plotting to bomb two resort hotels in Jordan.
  • Police said militants attacked an Indian army camp in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 10 soldiers and wounding 30. Three civilians also died and four were hurt in the ensuing gun battle.
  • Washington is ready to provide military training and equipment to help the Phillipines step up efforts to crush the small Abu Sayyaf movement.
  • An Italian priest taken hostage a month ago by Moro Islamic Liberation Front gunmen on southern Mindanao island was rescued. The gang had demanded a ransom of 15 million pesos ($288,000) for Pierantoni's release.
  • US special envoy to Sudan John Danforth said he was giving the parties in the Sudanese civil war two months to show interest in peace "expressed in actions" before ending his mission. "We have put forward four tasks for both the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), and I think it will be clear when I come back whether there is sufficient interest (in peace), not expressed in words but expressed in actions," Danforth said.

    The Alliance
  • More than 150 Pakistanis of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), who had crossed over to Afghanistan to join with the Taliban in jihad, have been killed while hundreds are still missing. Four Albanians and two Turks were arrested along with 17 Pakistanis when they sneaked into Pakistani tribal territory from Afghanistan overnight. US and Pakistani officials have detained two retired Pakistani naval officials for suspected contacts with Al Qaeda. Four Yemeni women, probably wives of al-Qaeda members, were arrested when they entered Pakistan near the Chaman border in Balochistan province.
  • Nigerian police have arrested six Pakistani Islamic preachers accused of inciting religious violence in the country's southwest Ogun state.
  • Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said that the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) was in danger of becoming irrelevant and needed to re-examine its international role. The US-led attacks on Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden meant "Muslims, Islam, and a Muslim nation have become victims," he said.

    Home Front
  • The largest criminal investigation in American history has exposed the rough outlines of at least a half-dozen centers of terrorist support operating underground before the Sept. 11 suicide attacks. The pockets of terrorist support exist in Boston, New Jersey, suburban Washington, Texas, southern California, and the Upper Midwest, particularly Detroit. The suspected terrorists appear to be aligned with several groups, including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and the Palestinian Hamas.

    Fifth Column
  • Organizers of a "Stop the War Coalition" in London said about 50,000 demonstrators including politicians and leaders from Britain's Muslim community, marched through central London to demand an end to the war in Afghanistan. Police put the figure closer to 10,000.
  • 5,000 people gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Athens and its consulate in Salonica, where demonstrations commemorating the anniversary of a student uprising quickly turned into violent protests against the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
  • Three to four thousand dancing, chanting anti-capitalism demonstrators pushed forward to within yards of the Ottawa conference center where world financial leaders met to discuss a sluggish global economy. "Spank the Bank," "Drop debt, not bombs" and "IMF -- Insensitive Murdering Fascists" were some of the slogans in the crowd, some of whom cheered loudly when a few protesters poured gasoline on a pair of U.S. flags and set them alight.