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November 01, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-01

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 1, 2001-- 5A

Talks to replace

The Washington Post

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Efforts to build a
political alternative to Afghanistan's ruling Tal-
iban movement are in disarray, crippled by clash-
ing egos and agendas, factional infighting and the
competing interests of foreign countries, accord-
ing to officials involved in the efforts..
At least six rival processes to frame a post-Tal-
iban government are now underway from Rome to
Cyprus to Peshawar in northeastern Pakistan. In
several cases, the participating monarchists, current
and former warlords, tribal and ethnic leaders, and
officials from more than a dozen countries are
refusing to meet with one another, insisting on their
own programs instead of negotiating.
Any resolve to overcome these rivalries has
been diminished by the apparent failure so far of
U.S.-led military operations to visibly weaken the
Taliban's hold over more than 90 percent of
Afghanistan, analysts here said. The bombing has
also divided some potential members of a com-
mon alliance against the Taliban.
"It's a disaster," said a Western diplomat
involved in the efforts to fashion a future govern-
ment. Other officials warn that the process could
take months - or years.
U.S. officials have sought to accelerate the col-
lapse of the Taliban by creating a viable govern-
ment to replace the radical Islamic movement.
Forming a united opposition would also guard
against a power vacuum and a return to wide-
spread civil war among factions backed by rival
AP PHOTO regional powers.
A major obstacle to this balance, according to

officials involved in the efforts, is that no powerful
leader has emerged to unify Afghanistan's largest
ethnic group, the Pashtuns, which dominates the
leadership of the Taliban. Most potential opposition
Pashtun leaders are considered tainted by associa-
tion with the Taliban, long periods in exile or ties to
foreign powers. Because Afghan society is general-
ly organized around religious, ethnic and tribal ties
that stretch back for centuries, and Pashtun support
considered is vital to the long-term stability of any
government in Afghanistan.
In addition, officials say that rifts are develop-
ing in a recent partnership between the Northern
Alliance, which is the main military opposition
to the Taliban, and Afghanistan's former king,
Mohammed Zahir Shah, who is still popular at
home after 28 years in exile and who analysts say
could help unify Afghanistan's factions.
Finally, competing interests among
Afghanistan's neighbors, particularly Iran and
Pakistan, also are complicating efforts to build an
international consensus for power sharing among
various religious, tribal and ethnic groups. A
variety of countries, including the United States,
is seeking to have a hand in shaping a new
Afghan government observers said.
The United States is backing the so-called
Rome process, which centers on the elevated role
of the former king. But Iran, which overthrew its
own monarch 22 years ago, does not favor a role
for Zahir Shah. Instead, it supports a process
based in Cyprus that has attracted Afghans con-
cerned that the Rome group was dominated by
monarchists, gave short shrift to Islamic interests
and moved too slowly.

Plumes of smoke from an explosion rise yesterday in front of the village of Sarghich, a Taliban controlled area 12 miles north of Kabul.

U.S. steps up efforts to thwart
potential future terror attacks
The Washington Post strengthen security at nuclear facilities in their states, tankers out of Boston Harbor, but a judge ruled


WASHINGTON - While authorities try to cope
with the ongoing anthrax outbreak, federal and state
officials are taking steps to prepare for a possible esca-
lation of terrorism that experts say could include truck
bombings and attacks on nuclear power plants as well
as more hijackings.
Since the FBI issued its second national terrrorism
alert Monday, administration officials and congression-
al intelligence experts have studied myriad terrorist
threats, including the outside possibility of the use of
portable nuclear weapons. Concrete steps taken by
state and federal officials point, in particular, to con-
cern about assaults on power plants and utilities, truck
p4o5ions in. tunnels and on, bridges, and.attacks on
ships carrying hazardous materials.
"If you're asking for a scenario of things that could
go wrong, it's a mighty long list," said House Intelli-
gence Committee Chairman Porter Goss (R-Fla.), a
former CIA officer.
Yesterday, the governors of Arkansas, Louisianna
and Mississippi ordered National Guard troops to

following a recommendation from Homeland Security
Director Tom Ridge, according to a spokesman for
Entergy Corp. in Arkansas.
In a conference call Tuesday, Ridge had advised
governors throughout the country to take such precau-
tions if they had not already done so, according to the
spokesman, Phil Fisher. The Federal Aviation Admin-
istration this week temporarily barred private aircraft
from approaching 86 sensitive nuclear sites, including
power plants and waste storage facilities.
The Treasury Department's bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, meanwhile, has begun intenz
sive inspections of all 9,500 mining and construction
companies and others licensed to use explosives across
the country. New York Gov. George Pataki said that-
more than 1,500 National Guard troops patroling in
and around New York City will be armed for the first
time by week's end.
Federal and local officials also remain concerned
about the possibility that terrorists would attack ships
carrying propane and other fuels. The city of Boston
went to court in an attempt to keep liquified natural gas

the city on Monday -just hours before the FBI issued
its alert - saying officials had failed to demonstrate a
sufficient threat.
President Bush yesterday defended his decision to put
the country on national security alert, telling business
leaders that the United States was still under attack.
"I wanted our law enforcement officials to know we
had some information that made it necessary for us to
protect United States assets, to protect those areas that
might be vulnerable. And that's exactly what's taking
place today," Bush said.
"This is a very unusual period in American history,
obviously. We've never been attacked like this before.
We're still being attacked," he said.
The nation has been awash in special warnings and
alerts since Sept. 11, many of them focused on the
types of potential terrorist targets that have been used
in previous attacks or identified as possibilities by
intelligence officials.
One example are commercial trucks, which have
been used by terrorists around the world as delivery
vehicles for makeshift but highly effective bombs.

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House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) touts airline safety legislation
yesterday at a rally In front of the House side of the U.S. Capitol.
House works to
bring air securit
bill to floor vote

The Washington Post

TEHRAN, Iran - Afghans fleeing their homeland
should "think twice" about heading for neighboring Iran,
a senior U.N. official warned yesterday after failing to per-
suade the Islamic Republic to allow refugees into the
country on humanitarian grounds.
"The policy of the (Iranian) government is that the bor-
ders are closed and that policy will continue," U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers said after
meeting with President Mohammad Khatami and other
top Iranian officials. "If you see any possibility to survive
(in Afghanistan), don't come."
His daylong trip to Iran followed four days of meetings
in Pakistan, where Lubbers also failed to persuade leaders
to change their closed-door policy for refugees.
Lubbers said he sympathizes with Iran's concerns
about the 2.6 million Afghans already in the country,
refugees from warfare stretching back to the Soviet inva-
sion of their country 22 years ago. Many Iranians resent
the influx, which they claim has driven up unemploy-
ment and strained already scarce resources, including
water and electricity.
Lubbers' meetings here did bear some fruit: Iranian
officials agreed to allow future Afghan refugees to con-
gregate in a handful of camps to be set up at the Iranian
border, he said.
Both U.N. and Iranian authorities will probably determine
who can stay at those camps, Lubbers said. He also stressed
that unless Iranian police and soldiers guarantee the safety
of those areas, the United Nations will not go there.
The international body already forbids its workers from
going to the two refugee camps set up a few miles inside
Afghanistan between the Iranian city of Zabol and the
Afghan city of Zaranj.
"It simply is not safe enough. They are not under the

A"" rPOT
A boy attempts, unsuccessfully, to cross into Chaman Pakistan from Afghanistan yesterday. Nearly
2,000 Afghan refugees are now living at the United Nations refugee camp at the border.
Afghan refugeesfnd squalor
lawlessness in Pakistan

WASHINGTON - House Repub-
licans and Democrats worked furious-
ly yesterday to promote competing
proposals in anticipation of today's
vote on overhauling the nation's air-
port security system.
Either bill would transform how the
government and airlines monitor air
travel. But the two parties are battling
over whether to adopt legislation,
passed by the Senate unanimously in
October, that would create a federal
workforce of 28,000 baggage screen-
ers. The House Republican proposal,
would give the president the option of
using private contractors, which Pres-
ident Bush prefers.
House leaders continued to tinker
with their bill yesterday to attract
more votes. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.),
chairman of the aviation subcommit-
tee, described more specific language
on matching bags to passengers and
deputizing screeners with law-
enforcement powers as "some of
those provisions people wanted."
The Republicans also inserted lan-
guage that would protect the New
York Port Authority and plane manu-
facturers from liability in the Sept. 1 I
attacks, and a provision to exempt
deferred compensation from an in an
earlier bill that capped the salaries

House Transportation and Infra-
structure Committee Chairman Don
Young (R-Alaska) said lawmakers did
not mean to limit airline executives'
income as part of the recent bailout.
"That was not our intention," he said.
The liability and compensation
changes brought new lobbyists to the
Republican side, including represen-
tatives of plane manufacturer Boeing
Co. and engine-maker Rolls Royce
PLC. A few airlines are also taking
more prominent roles, including
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc.,
whose lobbyists are focused on a few
Georgia members.
Several unions are working hard on
the other side, including associations
representing pilots, flight attendants,
machinists.and transport workers:.
Duane Woerth, president of the Air
Line Pilots Association, appeared at a
Democratic press conference
Wednesday morning to defend the
Senate bill. He contended that some
Republicans oppose federalizing bag-
gage screeners because they don't
want federal-employee unions to gain
But Republican leaders said they
were not fixated on unionization.
"The goal here should be to get secu-
rity at the highest level possible as
quickly as possible," said Chief

Los Angeles Times
QUETTA, Pakistan - Those who wonder
why Pakistan keeps its border closed to thou-
sands of new Afghan refugees need look no
further than Abdul Hakim and his five
scruffy little brothers.
Hakim, as he is commonly called, his
brothers and thousands of other Afghan
urchins like them survive on society's outer
edge, scavenging for bits of plastic, glass
and paper from the garbage piles of Pak-
istan's poorest region, then selling the scraps
for a pittance to recycling centers.
The children, some as young as 7, were

$1.50. On bad days, they bring in less than
50 cents.
In Quetta, Karachi and other Pakistani
cities, these boys exist in a kind of Dicken-
sian twilight zone, a filthy and dangerous
world. As they walk the streets and rummage
for scraps, they are weak prey to every form
of lowlife predator, from petty thieves, drug
peddlers and pedophiles to sophisticated kid-
napping rings.
As such, the children represent one pf the
more disturbing aspects of Pakistan's current
refugee crisis. Their presence embodies fears
for the next.
"These boys have no education, they have

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