8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 7, 2001 NATION/ VORLD
War close to end, but scope of victory still unclear
Ln An"Il Tim
WASHINGTON - In the unfolding final
acts of the war in Afghanistan, it suddenly
appears that victory could bring the United
States most - yet not quite all - of what it
wanted when U.S. warplanes began dropping
bombs two months ago.
The Taliban regime that was accused of har-
boring terrorists who attacked the United
States on Sept. 11 seems ready to make a break
from the al-Qaida terror network and cede its
last stronghold of Kandahar. As opposition
fighters encircle the mountain refuges of
Osama bin Laden northeast of Kandahar, an
interim government is beginning to take shape.
But the successor administration in
Afghanistan is signaling that it may give
lenient treatment to Taliban leader Mullah
Mohammed Omar, who the Bush administra-
tion has vowed to bring to justice.
Though the issue is not settled, amnesty or
easy treatment of Omar could have a variety of
unwanted and long-lasting consequences for
the United States. And no matter how it is
decided, it underscores that for all the weapons,
troops and billions in promised aid it has
brought to Central Asia, the United States is
not fully in control.
The final decision on Omar's fate could
mean domestic political fallout for President
Bush, whose father has been trailed for a
decade by accusations that he allowed Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein to escape justice at
the end of the Persian Gulf war.
It might open the way for Omar to some day
rally former Taliban forces and try to seize
power once more.
But the move would be most serious if it
meant that the new Afghan government also
intends to go easy on bin Laden and his al-
Though most experts don't expect the incom-
ing administration of Hamid Karzai to take that
approach, such a move would bring a clash with
the U.S. government. The Bush administration
has vowed to see the terrorists dead or behind
bars, and because of the Sept. 11 bombing, views
this issue as non-negotiable.
"This is at least awkward," said Teresita
Schaffer, a retired U.S. diplomat and expert on
South Asia. "If they want to do the same with
bin Laden, we've got a problem."
Karzai said in an interview with the British
Broadcasting Corp. that there would be a gen-
eral amnesty for all fighters willing to lay down
their arms, and that Omar would be included if
he condemned all terrorism worldwide.
Clearly, for Karzai, leniency for Omar could
help in a variety ways.
Most immediately, it would help avoid a
blood bath in Kandahar. Many Taliban fighters
there have vowed to battle to the end if they are
not shown the leniency often shown foes in
It would assist him in winning acceptance as
the country's new leader from countrymen who
have been loosely, but not devoutly, affiliated
with the Taliban.
And not least, it would enable Karzai to put
some distance between himself and the United
States. The Pashtun tribal chief cannot afford
to appear entirely a creature of the Americans
if he is to broaden his appeal to Afghanistan's
diverse ethnic groups.
Still, experts point out that even if Omar is
given easy treatment, the United States appears
to be accomplishing most of its aims.
Its first goal regarding the Taliban was to top-
ple the regime, they say, to send a message to
governments around the world that those who
support terrorists can be stripped of power.
"The most important lesson for the Taliban
was not that people will be killed for this, but
that if you do it, your regime will be gone,"
said Ivo Daalder, a Brookings Institution schol-
ar. "That's the lesson we have taught them, and
that we'd like others to realize."
Some experts say that the United States
might in some ways be better off if it allowed
the new Afghan government to handle Omar's
case. That could avoid a politically charged
trial on charges that some experts believe could
be difficult to formulate.
And some analysts predict that if Omar is
turned over to the Afghan justice system,
Afghan officials who lived unhappily under the
Taliban could compile a list of charges that
might keep him out of circulation for a long
Ashcroft, under criticism,
denies civil rights violations
WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney
General John Ashcroft, defending
administration measures to counteract
terrorism, declared yesterday the
nation must not let down its guard
against threats that present "a daily
chronicle of the hatred of Americans
Holding aloft an al-Qaida terrorism
manual, Ashcroft told the Senate Judi-
ciary Committee: "We are at war with
an enemy that abuses individual rights
as it abuses jetliners ... Defending our
nation and its citizens against terrorist
attacks is now our first law enforce-
Ashcroft's appearance came in an
atmosphere of mounting criticism by
Senate Democrats that the Justice
Department moved too far, too quick-
ly, to implement a host of stern inves-
tigative measures in the wake of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Ashcroft chided critics of the vari-
ous measures, including the govern-
ment's detention and questioning of
hundreds of Middle Eastern men.
He said critics are uninformed.
"Charges of kangaroo courts and
shredding the Constitution give new
meaning to the term 'the fog of war,"'
"Each action taken by the Depart-
ment of Justice as well as the war
crimes commission ... is carefully
drawn to cover a narrow class of indi-
viduals -terrorists," Ashcroft
On the 87th day since the attack,
Ashcroft told lawmakers he received
chilling daily intelligence reports.
"My day begins with a review of the
threats to Americans and American
interests," Ashcroft said. "If ever there
were proof of evil in the world it is in
"They are a chilling daily chronicle
of the hatred of Americans by fanatics,
who seek to extinguish freedom,
enslava women, corrupt education,
and to kill Americans wherever and
whenever they can."
The committee chairman, Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the govern-
ment needs a good reason to snoop into
bank records, tax returns and e-mails.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) coun-
tered: "Let's keep our focus on where
it matters - protecting U.S. citizens."
Leahy said the president was taking
a risk by acting without Congress to
establish a tribunal system that might
not survive Supreme Court scrutiny.
"It is a calculated risk that the
Supreme Court will uphold something
it has not upheld before," Leahy said.
Ashcroft replied that Bush has an
"inherent authority and power" to
prosecute war crimes.
Attorney General John Ashcroft testifies yesterday before the Senate Judiciary
Pommittee. Defending against terror, he said, "is our first law enforcement priority."
NATO pledges cooperation to combat terrorism
The Washington Post
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The 19 members
of NATO issued a sweeping pledge yesterday
to fight all forms of terrorism "for as long as
necessary" by developing new defense capa-
bilities and strengthening strategic coordina-
tion among themselves and with other blocs.
In a communique issued by NATO's North
Atlantic Council, foreign ministers vowed to
"enhance alliance military capabilities" and
deepen relations with other states and interna-
tional organizations to ensure appropriate
action is taken more effectively to confront
Secretary of State Colin Powell praised
NATO's growing role in fighting terrorism
since the Sept. 11 attacks. "This unflinching
decision, and the critical assistance this alliance
has provided, has sent a clear message to our
enemies about the depth of our common pur-
pose," Powell told a news conference on the
first of two days of talks with his counterparts.
In announcing the agreement, NATO Secre-
tary-General Lord Robertson said the world
had to have "zero tolerance" for global terror-
ism. He said NATO's new task will be "a pro-
longed - and demanding commitment. But
NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, Italian Prime
Minister Renato Ruggiero and U.S. Secretary of State Colin
Powell meet yesterday at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
NATO has always been ready for the long haul.
"The threats have changed but our resilience
and relevance have not," Robertson told another
news conference at NATO headquarters.
In unusually strong language,. NATO
declared there is "no justification whatsoever"
for terrorist actions and said the world's mighti-
est military alliance is "determined to combat
this scourge. Our security requires no less."
The statement took pains to add, however,
that its fight against terrorism is "not against
Islam," but against extremists, their networks
and those who harbor them.
NATO specifically called for improving
individual and collective capabilities to pro-
tect member populations from attack, particu-
larly from weapons of mass destruction. It
also pledged to enhance cooperation against
terrorism with the countries in Partners for
Peace, which includes many of the former
Defense ministers scheduled to meet here
next week are expected to follow up with dis-
cussions of specific steps NATO members can
take, with a full package of measures prepared
- for agreement by the NATO summit in Prague,
Czech Republic, next year, Robertson said.
NATO also gave open-ended and unquali-
- AFG HAN ISTA
Continued from Page 1A
fighters. Instead it reported some'
iban personnel as saying that theyv
following the orders of Omar.
Until the surrender deal was cut
terday, Omar had ordered his me
defend Kandahar to the death.
However, the Taliban reversed
hardline position after top oppos:
tribal leader, Hamid Karzai, agree
a guarantee Omar's safety if
the period. denounced terrorism.
Karzai, who is to head Afghanis
new interim government, also sai
would grant a general amnest
Afghan Taliban fighters who surren
Washington has accused Oma
protecting Osama bin Laden and
teirorist al-Qaida group, who
blamed for the September terr
attacks in the United States. The Un
States has made it clear that it will
accept a deal that allows Omar;
ingress. other top Taliban leaders to go free.
Omar has made no public staten
fied support to the U.S. campaign in
Afghanistan. "We have decided to support,
individually and collectively, the ongoing
U.S.-led military operations - until it has
reached its objectives," the communique said.
In his own speech to NATO, given behind
closed doors, Powell cautioned that recent
military gains did not mean the Afghan oper-
ation would soon end.
"Don't stand down. There's a lot more to be
done," Powell told his NATO colleagues:
"Every ounce of support is necessary - and
may be needed in the future."
The secretary also tried to smooth ruffled
feathers among some NATO allies miffed by
the U.S. decision not to deploy their forces in
Afghanistan after governments went out on a
limb to offer significant contributions. "The
circumstances of this campaign mean that not
every ally is fighting, but every ally is in the
fight," Powell told his counterparts.
In a separate action, NATO also announced
a new formula to loosely embrace Russia in
NATO, based on a "new quality" in relations
between Moscow and the Western alliance
and Russia's response in large part due to its
role since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New
York and Washington.
N in regards to the surrender agreement
and Karzai has said that he does not
know the whereabouts of Omar or bin
Tal- Laden. The murky surrender pact made
were no mention of bin Laden and left
unclear the fate of hundreds of Arabs,
yes- Pakistanis, Chechens and other foreign
n to fighters in al-Qaida. a
After briefing members of the Senate
their on the situation in Afghanistan,
ition Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
d to was asked whether the United States
he would insist on U.S. justice or would
agree to let an international tribunal
tan's deal with Omar.
d he "We would prefer to have Omar,"
y to Rumsfeld replied. He said "There's still
der. a good deal of confusion" surrounding
r of the surrender.
I his In Washington, U.S. officials said
are al-Qaida fighters are believed operat-
orist ing from five to 10 cave complexes at
nited Tora Bora in the White Mountains
1 not south of Jalalabad. Officials suspect
and bin Laden is in that area but also are
on alert for his presence in the south
ment around Kandahar.
FORWARD MARINE BASE,
Afghanistan - Late Wednesday
evening, a Marine spokesman
approached reporters preparing to
leave the Marine base in Afghanistan
known as Camp Rhino and announced
that American servicemen injured near
Kandahar were at that very moment
arriving and being treated less than
100 feet away.
Another Marine spokesman read
aloud from his computer a Defense
Department news release about a
"friendly fire"incident in which a U.S. B-
52 bomber had dropped ordnance near
Americans and Afghan anti-Taliban
forces, inflicting dozens of casualties.
The journalists, confined to a ware-
house, sprang to their feet.
Could a photographer take pictures
of the wounded arriving? No.
Could print reporters just stand to
the side and observe? No.
Could reporters talk to Marine pilots
who had airlifted the wounded to the
Could they talk to doctors after they
finished treating the wounded? No.
Could they talk to injured Afghan
fighters who also had been transported
to the base? None spoke English. No.
The spokesmen eventually relented
after reporters protested long and vigor-
ously, even leading them on a stumbling
run in pitch darkness to an airstrip
where the bodies of two Americans who
had been killed were said to be arriving
in a helicopter. But the bodies were
already in a morgue, which reporters
were not permitted to visit
In every war, there is an innate ten-
sion between the military and the jour-
nalists who want to cover battles up
close and capture the poignant and
horrific reality of combat. With Amer-
ican troops in southern Afghanistan,
however, reporters have operated
under limitations even more restrictive
than those imposed on pools during
Desert Storm in 1991, when reporters
traveling with troops had their stories
read and cleared by military escorts.
In Washington, Victoria Clarke,
assistant secretary of defense for pub-
lic affairs and the Pentagon's primary
spokeswoman, issued a memo to-news
organizations yesterday saying "we
owe you an apology"for the "severe
shortcomings" in the way Pentagon
has handled the news media. She
pledged that "we intend to provide
maximum media coverage with mini-
mal delay and hassle."
Also, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld said he was "committed to
the principle that the media should have
access to both the good and the bad in
this effort."Those responsible for having
kept the reporters out of sight of the
casualties, he said, "acknowledged that
they have not handled the matter per-
fectly, and they're in the process of
reviewing their procedures."
The incident in Afghanistan pro-
voked an outcry in part because it
came after seven weeks of unusually
tight control of information by the
Pentagon. In other conflicts, such as
the Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the
' Korean War and World War II,
reporters have been permitted to
"embed"with military units and cover
their daily operations. But that has not
been in the case in this war. For exam-
ple, more than 1,000 regular infantry
troops from the Army's 10th Mountain
Division have been in Uzbekistan for
nearly two months, and in Afghanistan
for at least two weeks, but no reporters
have been allowed to cover them.
Almost all information has been
released from the Pentagon, far away
from the conflict, and much of it has
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