--Muslims from north-west China fighting with the Taliban have been captured in Afghanistan but the United States will not hand them over to Beijing because they are not deemed terrorists, a senior US official on Thursday. (Jang)
--Taliban forces abandoned their last bastion Kandahar on Friday, with witnesses saying joyous residents poured into the streets and tore down the Taliban white flag. Afghanistan's interim leader said Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was missing and would be arrested if found. (AP)
--Anti-Taliban forces, led by chief of Afghan interim government Hamid Karzai, managed to take Kandahar over from Taliban on Friday. A military source in Kabul told IRNA that anti-Taliban forces breaking the defense line of Taliban in Kandahar Friday, infiltrated to the city and succeeded in capturing the city after a fierce battle. Afghan Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Habil said Karzai's forces had after several cases of unsuccessful attacks on Kandahar over the past few days, managed to liberate Kandahar Friday evening through cooperation of the United Front forces. Habil added both provinces of Helmand and Zabul that had been captured from the Taliban by local commanders over the past few weeks, are now under control of the United Front. The heights surrounding Kandahar are subjected to incessant air strikes of the US B-52 planes and jet fighters, he further noted. No report is yet available on the number of death toll or those taken captive in Friday battles, said Habil adding "anti-Taliban forces are said to have entered Kandahar on Thursday night but due to military reasons their commanders refused to release the news." (IRNA)
--Anti-Taliban forces have captured the main base of Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan, but failed to find the Saudi-born militant, a military spokesman said on Friday. (Reuters)
--Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Abdelouahed Belkeziz and Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, welcoming the Afghan interim administration, said the OIC would join the proposed UN forces in Afghanistan, if asked by the latter. (Jang)
--President General Pervez Musharraf telephoned Hamid Karzai on Thursday evening to congratulate him on having been nominated as Chairman of the Interim Authority and assured him of Pakistan's fullest support in all respects, including rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The President told Hamid Karzai that Pakistan will be willing to extend any help and cooperation that it can and which is sought by the interim Afghan government, to make its task given to it by the United Nations a success. Official sources told APP that President Musharraf wished well the Afghan interim government and prayed for its success for the advantage of the Afghan people. Reciprocating the sentiments of goodwill, Hamid Karzai said that the people of Afghanistan cherish the memories of solid help provided by Pakistan for the Afghan Jihad of the yesteryears. "We look forward to working closely with our friends," Karzai added. (Jang)
--The organization of Afghan Women's Islamic Mission in a statement released on Friday called recent international developments and the Bonn conference as 'helpful' for women. In its declaration, a copy of which was made available to IRNA, the organization said years of dark reins of communism had gradually weakened Afghan women's status and deprived them of healthy activities. The statement called the setup of an interim government as promising for Afghan women since it would prepare the ground for women's constructive activities. It expressed hope that the community of women would keep pace with women in the developed countries in terms of education, knowledge, ethics, technology and progress. The organization invited Afghan women to pursue education, acquire knowledge and launch constructive activity, voicing its support for the interim government and the Bonn conference. Under current conditions no unjustifiable ethnic claims should be raised and the society should concentrate its efforts on holding sound elections and establishment of a stable government in Afghanistan, concluded the declaration. (IRNA)
--Iran is pleased with a landmark Bonn agreement despite finding "some weak points" in a final resolution which was issued on Wednesday, naming Pashtun chief Hamid Karzai as the head of the interim Afghan government. "Tehran played a very important role at the Bonn conference. Though complete satisfaction is not achieved in such sessions and the final resolution also contained some weak points, by and large one has to be pleased by this success and welcome it," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told IRNA Friday. The Islamic Republic worked closely with the anti-Taliban United Front delegations during the nine days of intensive lobbies for working out a future Afghan government, he said. "We were working closely with the United Front. There were issues on which we were asked to talk to the front to cooperate over reaching a final agreement," the Iranian minister further said. Iran participated at the conference as a supervisor along with other representatives of the six-plus-two group which comprises Afghanistan's neighbors in addition to Russia and the United States. (IRNA)
--Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov supported the establishment of a broad-based Afghan government at the fourth legislative session of the Oly Majlis (Supreme Assembly). Addressing the session here Thursday, Karimov said, "Establishment of peace in Uzbekistan is required to achieve development. That is why we support the establishment of a broad-based government in Afghanistan." Concerning Uzbekistan's cooperation with the United States in its anti-terrorism campaign, he said that fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan is not to oppose Islam and Muslims but is aimed at returning peace and tranquility to Kabul and removing the threats directed toward the neighboring countries. Karimov referred to Uzbekistan as an Islamic country unbiased by extremism and said that over a decade of independence in Uzbekistan, the holy Quran has been twice published in Uzbek language in a wide circulation. (IRNA)
--At a time when the world community, especially the US-led coalition, is celebrating the outcome of the Bonn summit,the people of Afghanistan already shattered by the 23-year long war and civil strife continue to suffer.
Naqeeb Ullah, 45, a school teacher, lost his entire family of 14 last week in American bombing at Aggam, a village in the Nangarhar province - near Tora Bora. (Dawn)
--"War is evil. Who said that war is holy? War is unholy." The anonymous Pashtun mujahideen couldn't possibly be in a more spectacular setting: crouching, holding his prized Kalashnikov, contemplating the majestic Spin (White) Mountains on the horizon, while a B-52 circles slowly overhead in the crisp blue sky, about to unload its lethal heavy metal luggage. (Asia Times)
--(Afghanistan Online 12/7/2001)
The Taliban agreed today to surrender their last Afghan stronghold of Kandahar and will start handing over their weapons on Friday, a spokesman in Islamabad said.
--Norimitsu Onishi & Terence Neilan (NYTimes Online 12/6/2001)
--Hamid Karzai, the man named to head Afghanistan's first post-Taliban government, comes from a royal tribe of ethnic Pashtuns. (UPI)
--As a friend of Abdul Haq, the Pashtun leader murdered by the Taliban in October, and concerned with funnelling weapons to the mujahedin, many whisper that Mr Karzai had, and still has, links with the CIA and British intelligence. As an educated, English-speaking Pashtun fighting Communism, he would be an obvious target for recruitment. (Indepdendent)
--In making the appointments, the main stumbling block was not its choice of chairman, which was unanimously in favour of the Pashtun Mr Karzai but the carve-up of the other posts to ensure a spread of ethnic representation. The 30-strong cabinet will include 11 Pashtuns, eight Tajiks, five from the Shia Hazara population and three Uzbeks – a distribution corresponding approximately to the ethnic composition of the country. Mr Brahimi said no group was satisfied with its allocation, as each believes that it is more numerous than official estimates say, but the fear felt by the Pashtuns has been partially allayed, in that they hold a majority of posts, even though the Northern Alliance, dominated by Tajiks and Uzbeks, is the politically dominant group. (Independent)
--THE Bonn agreement opens the door to an estimated £6 billion in aid earmarked for Afghanistan. Fifteen of the largest donor countries promised yesterday never again to leave Afghanistan to its fate as they met to agree the cost and timing of rebuilding the country. (Times UK)
--Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum has said he intends to boycott Afghanistan's new interim government, just a day after it was set up. General Dostum, one of the most powerful commanders in the dominant Northern Alliance, said his faction had been treated unfairly under a landmark power-sharing accord signed in Germany on Wednesday. (BBC)
--Uzbek President Islam Karimov told parliament Thursday that his government intends to reopen the only bridge across the river border into Afghanistan, potentially opening the way for bigger humanitarian aid deliveries. (AP)
--Pakistan is planning to move Afghans living in cities to refugee camps as part of a drive to urge them to go back to their homeland, now that the prospect of peace and stability in Afghanistan is emerging with the nomination of a new interim government. President Pervez Musharraf approved the scheme at a cabinet meeting yesterday, sources said. (Guardian)
--Afghanistan Online (12/6/2001)
Overall, we face one of the more dramatic Constitutional crises in United States history. First, while national security mandates some fair degree of restraint, blanket control of information is in tension with the Constitution's expectation that freedom of a diverse and opinionated press will moderate the tyrannical tendencies of power. We need to have some inkling of what is happening on the battlefield in our name. On the domestic front, moreover, the First Amendment's protection of free speech, is eroded if even peaceful dissent becomes casually categorized as dangerous or unpatriotic, as it has sometimes been in recent weeks. This concern is heightened by the fact that the war has been framed as one against "terror" - against unruly if deadly emotionalism - rather than as a war against specific bodies, specific land, specific resources.
--Patricia Williams (Observer 12/2/2001)
It is difficult for everyone to put the 9-11 attacks in a proper perspective, because any attempt to do so is construed as diminishing the utter horror of the events of that day. We must remember, though, that the 3,900 deaths incurred in the World Trade Center attacks are just slightly more than the deaths that occur on our nation's highways each month. Could it be that the sense of personal vulnerability we survivors feel motivates us in meting out justice, rather than the concern for the victims of the attacks? Otherwise, the numbers don't add up to the proper response. If we lose sight of the target and unwisely broaden the war, the tragedy of 9-11 may pale in the death and destruction that could lie ahead.
--Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX (Speeches 11/29/2001)
...The sudden seizure of power by the executive branch, bypassing all constitutional checks and balances, is beginning to be recognized by cooler heads in the White House, Defense Department and C.I.A. as more than a bit excessive....
At the State Department, word is coming in from Spain,
Germany and Britain - where scores of Al Qaeda suspects
have been arrested - that the U.N. human rights treaty
pioneered by Eleanor Roosevelt prohibits the turning over
of their prisoners to military tribunals that ignore such
rights. That denies us valuable information about
"sleepers" in Osama bin Laden's cells who are in the U.S.
planning future attacks. (Those zealots who cited F.D.R.'s
saboteur precedent forgot about Eleanor.)
--William Saffire (NYTimes 12/6/2001)
The House of Representatives handed President Bush a major triumph late this afternoon, approving greater global-trading authority for the president by a razor-thin margin.
--David Stout (NYTimes Online 12/6/2001)
The Palestinian Authority put Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the militant group Hamas, under house arrest on Wednesday, setting off protests by hundreds of angry supporters near his home in Gaza.
--Joel Greenberg (NYTimes Online 12/6/2001)
A French citizen from Djibouti, in East Africa, Mr. Seif is one of 93 men whom the government identified last week as having been indicted or charged with crimes as a result of the investigation into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He is widely believed to be the lone man among the 93 who is protesting his treatment by refusing to eat. He has lost 25 pounds, restricting his intake to water, and weighs about 150 pounds.
--Michael Janofsky (NYTimes 12/6/2001)
The Justice Department has refused to let the F.B.I. check its records to determine whether any of the 1,200 people detained after the Sept. 11 attacks had bought guns, F.B.I. and Justice Department officials say.
--Fox Butterfield (NYTimes 12/6/2001)
No other country—with the possible exception of Afghanistan—could offer bases in such proximity. [Discussing Oman as location of Air Force bases for US responses to clashes between India & Pakistan, the "most plausible scenarios" for conflict in Asia.]
--Zalmay Khalilzad, "The United States And Asia" (Rand 5/15/2001, Ch. 4, p. 82)
National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice announced today the appointment of Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues, National Security Council.
Dr. Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney Transition team for the Department of Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld....
--White House (5/23/2001)
In the recent Rand study, titled "The United States and Asia: Toward a New U.S. strategy and Force Posture," Khalilzad and his co-authors said: "Unlike China, India need not be concerned that increasing links to the rest of the world and growing prosperity will place potentially fatal stresses on its political system; if anything, such forces could be expected to strengthen India's democracy." The study predicted: "If India's economic and technological development can be sustained and accelerated, India should be in a position to claim a larger role for itself in world affairs."
--Aziz Haniffa (India Abroad 6/8/2001)