Where is Bin Laden?

  1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...030128-19.html
    "In Afghanistan, we helped liberate an oppressed people. And we will continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate all their children -- boys and girls. (Applause.) " From the 2003 State of the Union Address
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Statement of RAWA's anti-war demonstration in Islamabad

    The US Government Wants War,
    the People of US and the World Want Peace!
    Again the world has been plunged into a newly terrifying nightmare. The US and its allies are willing to destroy Saddam Hussain's regime- the regime with which till yesterday they were allied and which they supported in the war against Iran- and impose their own puppet government on the Iraqi people and by doing so repeat the ghastly tragedy of the Gulf War in which Saddam survived but the war caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people.
    While a war against terrorism in the name of democracy is the excuse for the attack, the people of Afghanistan, at least, know well the hidden nature of these claims and excuses.
    First the terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was the favorite son - the recent American pronouncements against this hangman are meaningless. Then Osama and Mullah Omar occupied his place and now finally they polished the grim appearance of the "Northern Alliance", beautifying them with pantaloons and neckties, and imposed them on our people.
    Will America do better than this in Iraq? The Iraqi people have suffered and been pushed to the limit by the crimes of Saddam's regime but this has never meant that they ask the US and its allies to save them with military intervention. The change of government in each country is the prerogative of the people of that country, otherwise the result will be neither stable nor sustainable for the long term. The puppet regimes of Parcham and Khalq followed by the criminal Jehadi regime, the Taliban and finally the re-imposition of the Jehadis, with Karzai as the President, are all proof of this claim.
    Even Afghan and other children throughout the world ask why, if the US wants to destroy rulers like Saddam Hussain, has it imposed the war criminals and professional terrorists, who are worse than Saddams, in Afghanistan?
    The majority of UN Security Council members are also standing against the US and British jingoism, and emphasizing the continuation of the UN inspectors' work. But this is not enough. We must all stand against the war on Iraq and never let it happen.
    The Afghan people who have suffered in the fires of war for the past 25 years deeply hate war more than most other nations, but unfortunately in Afghanistan they cannot mingle their anti-war protest voices with the millions of other anti-war protestors around the world because of the domination of the fundamentalist dictatorship in Afghanistan.
    The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) is pleased that at least in Pakistan through today's demonstration it can announce its solidarity with all peace-loving movements in every nook and corner of the world and can represent and echo the choked and muted voice of its fettered nation against war and warmongers.

    Down with terrorism and jingoism!
    Long live peace, freedom and democracy!
    Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
    Feb.24, 2003
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    Afghans Urge U.S. Action on Free-Roaming Taliban
    By Mirwais Afghan , Reuters
    Sunday 27 July 2003
    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The government of a volatile southern Afghan province urged U.S. forces on Sunday to deal with resurgent Taliban guerrillas and said hundreds of them were roaming around freely.
    A Taliban official said its elusive leader Mullah Omar had approved a new deputy for the south on Saturday to assist a notorious commander suffering from wounds, and ordered him to intensify attacks on U.S. and government forces.
    In a further sign of stepped up Taliban activity, residents of a southern town close to the Pakistani border woke on Sunday to posters threatening death to 25 "informers" accused of collaborating with U.S. and Afghan government forces.
    The deputy governor of Zabul province told Reuters Taliban officials, meeting in the Pakistani city of Quetta, had named Mullah Abdul Jabar as a rival governor for the province.
    Mullah Mohammed Omar, a namesake of the Taliban leader, said hundreds of Taliban now roamed freely in several districts of Zabul and provincial forces were powerless to act as they had insufficient support from the U.S.-backed central government.
    "There are about 500 Taliban in Deh Chopan district," he said. "The district is under our control, but they are walking freely in the bazaar."
    "If coalition forces do not launch a big operation here, it will be a big problem."
    Zabul province was part of the heartland for the Taliban regime overthrown in 2001. It has seen repeated attacks on government soldiers, district officials and deminers this year.
    Taliban intelligence officer Mullah Abdul Samad told Reuters a Taliban leadership council and tribal elders had named Mullah Sabir, alias Momin, as deputy to the military commander for the south, replacing Hafiz Abdur Rahim, who was suffering from wounds sustained three months ago.
    Arrest Report Denied
    Samad denied a report in Sunday's Pakistani newspaper The News that Rahim had been arrested in the central province of Uruzgan four days ago but freed two days later by government forces who failed to recognize him.
    "Mullah Rahim has not visited Uruzgan for the last three months because he is under treatment," Samad said by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.
    He said Rahim had been wounded in a clash with government forces, but did not say how seriously he was hurt or where he was being treated.
    Rahim escaped a massive hunt by U.S.-led forces earlier this year when his mountain hideouts were bombed by U.S. planes after a series of attacks on foreign and Afghan troops.
    The U.S. military said U.S.-led coalition forces killed up to 24 suspected Taliban fighters on July 19 after a coalition convoy came under guerrilla attack near Spin Boldak. A series of suspected Taliban attacks that weekend wounded five U.S. and four Italian members of the 11,500 strong coalition.
    The posters that appeared overnight in mosques in Spin Boldak and nearby villages said the 25 informers would be killed "at the appropriate moment."
    "These people have played important role in the massacre of Taliban mujahideen," one said. "These people have been cooperating with the American forces and their agents despite Taliban warnings."
    (with reporting by Saeed Ali Achakzai in Spin Boldak)
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Afghans on Edge of Chaos
    As opium production and banditry soar, the country is at risk of anarchy, some warn, and could allow a Taliban resurgence.
    By Robyn Dixon
    Times Staff Writer

    August 4, 2003

    WARDAK, Afghanistan-Two months after a gun attack, the bullet holes in the Datsun sedan have been patched and it runs beautifully. But water engineer Asil Kahn walks with a limp and he still has two bullets in his body, one of them half an inch from his spine.

    The vehicle's humanitarian logo made him a victim in the battle for Afghanistan's future, where water engineers, mine-clearers and humanitarian workers-people the country needs most-are prime targets for militants trying to destabilize President Hamid Karzai's interim government.

    The May attack on the Afghanistan Development Agency car in Wardak province, south of Kabul on the road to Kandahar, injured Kahn but killed the driver.

    "They weren't robbers or thieves," said Kahn, 46. "They just wanted to kill us. They're people against the government. They thought that maybe there would be some foreigners or some officials from aid organizations in the car. That's why they shot us."

    U.S. forces have their hands full trying to subdue attacks in Iraq. But with the slow buildup of a national Afghan army, an inadequate U.S. and coalition presence and poor progress on reconstruction projects, Afghanistan is spiraling out of control and risks becoming a "narco-mafia" state, some humanitarian agencies warn.

    Already the signs are there-a boom in opium production, rampant banditry and huge swaths of territory unsafe for Western aid workers. The central government has almost no power over regional warlords who control roads and extort money from truck drivers, choking commerce and trade.

    If the country slips into anarchy, it risks becoming a haven for resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. And the point of U.S. military action here could be lost-a major setback in the war against terrorism.

    Money spent on the war may end up being wasted, and dragging the country back from chaos could be even more costly. America spends about $900 million a month on its forces stationed here, but little of the $3 billion authorized for aid in the Freedom Support Act has been spent.

    U.S. promises of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan raised Afghan expectations, but security and reconstruction woes are undermining support for the coalition among ordinary Afghans. Their disappointment and disillusionment plays into the hands of anti-government militants.

    Humanitarian agencies, calling for a big boost in international funds for security and reconstruction, contend that the commitment to Afghanistan is relatively low. A CARE International paper in January stated that postwar international aid spent in Bosnia-Herzegovina was $326 per capita, compared with $42 promised for Afghans up to 2006. For every peacekeeping soldier there were 48 Bosnians, compared with one for every 5,380 Afghans, the paper said. Yet Bosnia poses no appreciable terrorist threat.

    There are 8,500 U.S. military personnel leading the 11,500 anti-terrorist coalition forces in Afghanistan. An additional 5,000 international troops secure the capital city, Kabul. A key missing piece is an Afghan army, but with only 4,000 troops trained so far, it will take many years to reach the planned 70,000-strong force. It won't be ready in time to ensure free and fair elections scheduled for June. Some of the 4,000 trained soldiers have already defected because of poor salaries and low morale.

    The security vacuum outside Kabul has emboldened Taliban fighters, who constitute the bulk of anti-government militants, some who cross from Pakistan, others based in the east and south. U.S. officials say the Taliban controls part of the opium business, a rich source of funds to attract fighters.

    As security worsens, there are sharp differences between the aid community and Western leaders on how to prevent a deepening slide.

    Many in the international aid community in Kabul believe the coalition's latest response to the security problem-small scale military teams tackling modest reconstruction projects-will have little impact and will put aid workers at more risk by blurring the line between them and soldiers.

    About 40% of the $5.2 billion pledged by the international community last year has been spent but with little progress on big reconstruction projects like the Kabul-to-Kandahar road. Much of the money has been eaten up by emergency relief-food, medicine, blankets and tents.

    Haji Abdul Khaliq, 54, arrived in Kabul exhausted by 14 hours on the shattering, rocky track of a highway from Kandahar. It was inconceivable to him that $2 billion had been spent in his country since January last year.

    "From what we can see, they didn't spend more than a dollar," he spluttered angrily. "There are no paved roads, no reconstruction of government buildings, no help for the people and no government salaries.

    "I think at first people were very hopeful, [but] day by day they lose hope," said Khaliq, a turbaned, white-bearded general from a Kandahar military base who is fighting Taliban militants in the south.

    The term Taliban can be a little confusing in a city like Kandahar, where most people in power were once with the Taliban.

    Typical of many Afghan moujahedeen fighters, Khaliq is loyal only to his commander. Though he's fighting anti-government militants, he is contemptuous of Americans and despises Karzai and his government.

    Khaliq said Taliban forces in the region were growing bolder. A June 30 explosion at a Kandahar mosque that injured more than a dozen was apparently aimed at the anti-Taliban mullah there. A day later another anti-Taliban mullah was shot dead in Nakobak village, six miles south of Kandahar.

    In the same week, said Khaliq, Taliban fighters from Pakistan set up a base northeast of Kandahar in Zabul province. Afghan forces attacked, killing a dozen Taliban fighters and capturing about five.

    The Taliban rebels offer local people good salaries-more than $100 a month-to fight, while Khaliq grumbled that he and his men are not being paid at all. Afghanistan's severe budgetary problems are leaving many civil servants unpaid.

    In Afghanistan, U.S. forces have not suffered the steady casualties borne by the much larger force in Iraq. But anti-government militants in recent months have killed aid workers, attacked mine-clearers and burned girls schools. In June, a suicide bomb attack in Kabul killed four German soldiers from the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.

    The security problem delaying the Kabul-Kandahar road project is denying the country the economic fillip of a six-hour trade route between the cities. Taxis can do the road in 14 hours, but truck transport takes at least two days.

    Taxi drivers working the road daily tell hair-raising tales of armed attacks by thieves and bandits. With something akin to nostalgia, they recall the security of the Taliban era, when they could drive all night without fear.

    U.S. forces are focused on eradicating remnants of the Taliban. But to many Afghans, a more immediate problem is bandits, often associated with the venal commanders and warlords who control the roads.

    Sher Alimad, 38, a driver from the western city of Herat, said he was attacked in mid-June by five gunmen at Gereshk, about 40 miles west of Kandahar. He was beaten, tied up and thrown into his trunk, driven to a deserted road and robbed of 12,000 Afghanis (about $250).

    A surge in trade by small businessmen after the Taliban's fall is being slowly strangled by extortion and banditry.

    A group of truck drivers sat wearily in the dust at Dashte Deh Sabz on the northern outskirts of Kabul, after their loads of gravel for the thriving brick industry were seized by a local commander named Maulana. They said he had taken over the gravel trade.

    "He's collecting from everyone. No one else can bring it into the city except for him," said driver Khalifa Yakub, 21, who said he was beaten by checkpoint soldiers and jailed for three days when he tried to protest. His dream of running his own small gravel transport business has died. He's become an employee.

    "These people, they're commanders, they're dealers, they're businessmen, they're killers, they're everything," he said ruefully.

    President Karzai has repeatedly called for the deployment of ISAF forces outside Kabul, a request echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and international aid agencies, but resisted by U.S. and European leaders. Last month an open letter from 80 aid organizations called for a national ISAF presence, warning that efforts to rebuild and hold elections were at risk.

    Karzai has called for international donors to offer $20 billion over five years to help the country rebuild. CARE International called for at least $10 billion.

    Playing down the security problem on a recent visit, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs-military-civilian teams of 50-100 people deployed to rebuild infrastructure-would play a key role in improving security. Four are working, independent of ISAF, and eight are planned.

    Lt. Gen. Norbert van Heyst, the German commander of ISAF forces in Kabul, described the city as a "safe island" because of ISAF's presence, but expressed concern that militant attacks in the south and east could spill into the capital. However, he said, extending ISAF beyond Kabul was unrealistic.

    "For the entire country you would need 10,000 additional troops, and nobody is willing to do that," he said, adding that PRTs were a more realistic first step. "I'm convinced that this concept can improve security."

    It's a view contested by many in the humanitarian sector. Barbara Stapleton of ACBAR, the coordinating body for Afghan relief, said the military should focus on improving poor security, not duplicate the role of humanitarian agencies.

    PRTs "have neither the mandate nor the resources to have a significant impact on either reconstruction or security," she said, adding that the teams eroded Afghan confidence in the neutrality of humanitarian agencies. "In a highly complex security situation, they further muddy the waters."

    Stapleton said some U.S. military anti-terrorist forces had conducted crude searches in a village in southern Afghanistan, bursting into homes and offending cultural sensibilities.

    "Then they went in later with sweeteners and built wells. And the people refused to use them. It's actually a crude way of dealing with a highly sophisticated and very intelligent people."

    Dixon was recently on assignment in Afghanistan.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN

    "The CIA's people are over in Iraq. Special forces are in Iraq. And they're running out of manpower and energy and attention to look into Osama bin Laden at this point."
    Jane Mayer, writer