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1998-08-24

U.S. Bombings of Afghanistan and Sudan

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An unexploded U.S. missile reportedly has been found in western Pakistan, but Pakistani officials would not comment today after a similar report last week was later denied. Local officials said the missile was found in a remote area Sunday and handed over to the military the same day, four days after U.S. missiles struck an alleged training camp in neighboring Afghanistan. They said the missile fell in Kharan, 380 miles south of the U.S. target in Afghanistan.

Pakistan had protested the presumed violation of its air space in the U.S. attack, and said earlier that a missile had mistakenly fallen in Pakistan and killed several people. The government fired its intelligence chief, Manzoor Ahmed, for passing on what is now said to be a false report to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, a report in today’s Wall Street Journal says the apparent owner of the Sudanese factory destroyed by U.S. missiles is a Saudi Arabian banker with no known ties to Islamic extremists.

News reports say the owner, Salaheldin Idris, never met Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden, the man targeted in the U.S. attacks, and that Mr. Idris may seek $50 million in compensation for the plant’s destruction.

U.S. officials said they have hard evidence that the factory, destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles last week, was making a key ingredient for the VX nerve agent, but they haven’t specified the ingredient or the evidence. The Sudanese government says the factory was a pharmaceutical plant that manufactured essential medicines including anti-malarial drugs.

Guests:

  • Njoki Njehu, with the Kenyan Action Network. Call: Kenyan Action Network (202) 463-2265.
  • Hussein Ibish, host of SVoices of the Third WorldS on community radio in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is a journalist and a frequent commentator on Pacifica.

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