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HeadlinesSeptember 26, 2001

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Bush Admin Advances Diplomatic Effort to Wage War on Bin Laden and Taliban

Sep 26, 2001

The Bush administration yesterday advanced its diplomatic effort to wage war on Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan’s Taliban regime, securing a renunciation of the Taliban by Saudi Arabia and Russian consent to use former Soviet air bases for U.S. strikes. The moves come as the Group of 7, the world’s wealthiest nations, agreed to join the United States in freezing alleged terrorists’ assets. At the White House, President Bush met with the Japanese prime minister, who offered nonmilitary support. But a strong note of caution was sounded by Pakistan, a crucial ally in any campaign, when it warned the United States against trying to install a new government in Kabul. Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar urged the Bush administration to put aside any notion of supporting Afghan opposition groups that are battling to replace the ruling Taliban, which has intimate ties with Pakistan’s security services.

Russia: U.S. Can Use Central Asian Military Facilities to Launch Strikes on Afghanistan

Sep 26, 2001

In a momentous move, the Russian defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, yesterday said the United States could use military facilities in Tajikistan to launch strikes on neighboring Afghanistan “if the need arises,” marking the first time Russia has publicly approved what would be an unprecedented U.S. military presence in former Soviet Central Asia. Leaders of several Central Asian countries in recent days have publicly offered use of their airspace and military facilities to the United States. Since Ivanov’s first statement, Putin has held lengthy consultations with leaders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Monday he was ready to allow U.S. warplanes to launch strikes from [his airspace]. Kyrgyzstan’s President Askar Ayakev … said, “We are ready to provide our airspace.” But the free Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan have been less forthcoming.

Japanese Prime Minister Offers U.S. Political, Diplomatic, Economic Support

Sep 26, 2001

Bush met Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi, the latest in a procession of world leaders to make a pilgrimage to the White House in the past two weeks. Koizumi said Japan would help politically, diplomatically and economically, but would not join the fighting.

Bush Tells Congress Not to Expect Conventional Warfare Like the Gulf Conflict

Sep 26, 2001

Earlier Tuesday, Bush briefed leaders of Congress on the extent of the U.S. military deployment within striking distance of Afghanistan, telling them not to expect conventional warfare like the Gulf conflict.

Pentagon Changes Code Name After Objections from Muslim Groups

Sep 26, 2001

In related news, the Pentagon has changed the code name of its military buildup to Operation Enduring Freedom. The change was made after the initial name, Operation Infinite Justice, last week ran into objections from some Islamic scholars and Muslim groups in many countries on grounds that only God or Allah could mete out infinite justice and that the operation’s name was a religious insult.

U.S. Presses U.N. Security Council to Draft Resolution to Sanction Countries Not Cooperating in “War on Terror”

Sep 26, 2001

U.S. diplomats are pressing the U.N. Security Council to draft a resolution that could pose the threat of international sanctions on any country that does not cooperate in isolating and prosecuting terrorists in its territory. The resolution, of which a first draft is expected within the next two weeks, could legally bind countries to halt funding flows to terrorist organizations, prosecute those who give so-called terrorists shelter or support, and more openly share information about so-called terrorist networks and their whereabouts. U.S. officials, including Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have both said the U.S. will not seek Security Council authorization for military attacks against Afghanistan.

Islamic Charity Objects to Inclusion on Bush’s List of Suspected Terrorist Groups

Sep 26, 2001

The Islamic Al Rashid Trust in Afghanistan is engaged in rebuilding roads, feeding the poor, providing limbs to amputees and supplying sewing machines to widows so they can eke out a living. Now the group is protesting it being included on President Bush’s list of 27 suspected Islamic terrorist groups and individuals whose assets should be frozen. Leaders of Al Rashid called the allegations against the charity unfounded and unjustified. They said the attempt by the United States to restrict their benevolence exposed America as an opponent of Muslims rather than of terrorists, and said they “reserve the right to legal action.” In Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, it’s hard to miss the many Al Rashid signs evident in most parts of the city. The organization has opened dozens of bakeries, supplying subsidized bread to the war-ravaged, drought-parched population. Al Rashid, which is based in Pakistan, and several other Islamic charities have entered Afghanistan in a major way during the last year. The ruling Taliban have found the trend encouraging. Many make little secret of their hopes that Muslims will replace Western relief agencies and the United Nations as the nation’s chief benefactors.

Voice of America Broadcasts Rare Interview with Taliban Leader

Sep 26, 2001

The Voice of America broadcast a rare interview with the leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban yesterday, four days after outraged State Department officials argued that he should not be given a taxpayer-financed platform. The report by Ed Warner of Voice of America sandwiched portions of the interview between a review of President Bush’s speech to Congress last week and commentary by an academic expert and a representative of the Taliban’s opponents, the Northern Alliance. The reaction of the State Department, which until two years ago had direct control over VOA operations, and still retains a seat on the independent agency’s governing board, prompted more than 100 Voice of America employees to protest, in a letter to newspapers, that their work was being censored.

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