2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Arafat, Sharon focus on cease-fire
UPPER MANeGASt Philippines
Muslim rebels attack Filipino troops
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon said yesterday that Yasser Arafat will be
free to travel to an Arab summit next week if the
Palestinian leader agrees to a cease-fire, but hinted
Arafat may not be allowed back if the violence
persists while he is gone.
In another incentive for a truce, Vice President
Dick Cheney said he would meet Arafat if it is
achieved. It would be Arafat's highest-level contact
with the Bush administration.
Both sides said a truce to halt 18 months of Pales-
tinian-Israeli violence could be declared after a cru-
cial meeting of security commanders set for today.
Violence continued yesterday, with an Israeli soldier
and two Palestinians dying in a gunbattle and a
Palestinian civilian shot to death by Israel troops.
In a statement yesterday, the Palestinian Cabinet
said it is prepared to implement a cease-fire "accord-
ing to a time table agreed on by both sides, without
any delay." The statement complained that "troops
are still surrounding the Palestinian territories with a
tight siege and continuous aggression against the
Cheney, ending a 24-hour stop in Israel, said he
expected Arafat to take decisive steps to end Pales-
tinian attacks on Israelis by week's end.
"I cannot emphasize enough how important it will
be this week for Chairman Arafat to take the steps to
get the cease-fire started," Cheney said at a news
conference with Sharon.
Arafat wants to attend a March 27-28 Arab sum-
mit in Beirut, at which Saudi Arabia is expected to
present a proposal for broad Arab-Israeli peace in
exchange for a return of the territories Israel occu-
pied in 1967 - the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east
These ideas have been welcomed by the United
States and European Union, but Sharon opposes a
total withdrawal from territory he considers strategi-
Sharon expressed his expectations of Arafat at the
summit and added an implied warning.
"We would expect that he will speak on the impor-
tance of peace and regional stability," Sharon said.
Asked whether Arafat would be allowed to return
to the Palestinian territories after the summit, Sharon
said: "If it turns out that he didn't act in that way, the
Cabinet will meet and will have to make a decision. I
wouldn't rule out any possibilities."
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat
denounced the comments, saying, "Sharon cannot
put an obstacle on the movement of Arafat and
cannot dictate to us what we should say or not
say," he said.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -
Protected by sympathetic clerics, up
to 1,000 Taliban and al-Qaida lead-
ers are hiding in Pakistan and plan-
ning a Taliban comeback in
Afghanistan, according to Taliban
IlWW.fiI~ members and others familiar with
the Islamic movement.
Most of the exiles - including
some of the best-known figures in the
Islamic militia - live quietly in Pak-
istan's lawless frontier region, protect-
ed by tribal leaders of their own
Pashtun ethnic group in an area where
the central government's authority is
Many of the Taliban fugitives
remain convinced that interim Prime
Minister Hamid Karzai's hold on
power depends on U.S. support and
once the Americans are gone, they
will have little trouble dealing with
WWW.d Afghans who are now allied with
"I am waiting for the big war," said
Mullah Towha, former chief of securi-
ty for the Taliban governor of
Afghanistan's Nangharhar province.
"America and Britain will have to
leave one day, and then we will have a
jihad against those Afghans who
fought with them against other Mus-
The mullah, who has trimmed his
beard and abandoned his distinctive
Taliban turban for a white skullcap,
spoke to The Associated Press in a car
as it weaved through the Khyber Pass
a a in the middle of Pakistan's tribal belt.
He lives in an Islamic shrine protected
by a "pir," or holy man.
Pakistan has repeatedly denied
knowingly harboring al-Qaida and
Taliban renegades and has insisted
that intelligence service links to
extremists were severed after Presi-
dent Pervez Musharraf threw his sup-
port to the U.S.-led war on terrorism
"There is absolutely no truth in
these reports," chief government
spokesman Maj. Gen. Rashid
Quereshi told AP yesterday. He called
the idea that Pakistani intelligence
was still supporting Taliban fugitives
"nonsense" and "part of a malicious
campaign against Pakistan."
Nonetheless, the Taliban fugitives
reportedly living in Pakistan include
some of the most high-profile and influ-
ential members of the hard-line Islamic
movement. All once worked closely
with Pakistan's powerful intelligence
service and have close ties to influential
figures in the Pakistani military and
According to Taliban and other
sources, they include former Defense
Minister Mullah Obeidullah, former
Interior Minister Abdul Razzak, former
Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Hasan
Akhund and Amir Khan Muttaqi,
spokesman for the Taliban's supreme
leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
It is unclear why the Pakistani gov-
ernment has made no move to round
them up. Local chiefs in the border
area wield considerable power and
tracking them down would take time
and resources and doubtless meet
Also, before Sept. 11, top fugitives
were close to powerful figures in Pak-
istan, who may be protecting them.
The list also includes Jalaluddin
Haqqani, who several Afghans say
was the mastermind of al-Qaida and
Taliban efforts to regroup in his
stronghold of Paktia province - tar-
get of the just-concluded U.S.-led
The police chief of Paktia's provin-
cial capital Gardez, Haji Mohammed
Ishaq, said Haqqani lives in Pakistan's
South Waziristan region along the
Muslim extremists unleashed a volley of grenades and small arms fire on
a Filipino army patrol yesterday, wounding two soldiers, and prompting
Green Berets to try to retrieve the injured men - only the second time
Americans have ventured into the combat zone.
The clash between about 30 Filipino troops and a group of Abu Sayyaf
rebels erupted within earshot of the Green Berets as they attended a town
meeting on the southern island of Basilan to discuss local residents' safety
Abu Sayyaf is believed to have links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida ter-
At least four rebels were killed in several hours of fighting on the out-
skirts of Lantawan town, officials said. Elite Philippine troops captured six
more rebels as they fled the fighting.
After a series of frantic radio calls, the four Green Berets learned that Fil-
ipino platoon commander Lt. Lemuel Beduya had a serious head wound and
one of his men was shot in the arm. Both were pinned down by enemy fire
only about two miles from where the Americans were meeting local resi-
dents at Atong Atong village.
Worst flood in decades hits southern states
The National Guard was sent to help evacuate residents affected by a storm
that caused the worst flooding to hit eastern Kentucky in 25 years, damaging or
destroying at least 250 homes.
Flood warnings remained in effect yesterday for parts of Kentucky and Ten-
nessee, but the flood threat appeared to be over in Virginia, the National Weath-
er Service said.
On Monday, floods and mudslides forced residents to flee rugged sections of
all three states.
More rain fell on Kentucky yesterday and rain also was forecast across the
region for the rest of the week.
At least seven deaths in Tennessee were blamed on the storm, including 3 1/2-
year-old Cody Haun, who fell into a swollen creek behind his home in Erwin
and was swept about 150 feet downstream.
In Virginia, where up to 7 inches of rain fell, Gov. Mark Warner declared
emergencies Monday in seven counties in the southwestern part of the state and
sent National Guard troops to help evacuate hundreds of residents.
Bush tries to improve
security at the border
The White House is nearing a deci-
sion on merging the Immigration and
Naturalization Service and the Customs
Service in a bid to better protect U.S.
borders and enhance homeland security.
President Bush was reviewing the
plan, which has been endorsed by his
top advisers, yesterday and could make
a decision as early as this week. The
plan, which requires congressional
approval, would be a significant move
to reshape the government's border
Under the plan, the Justice Depart-
ment would probably oversee the new
border security agency. The Customs
Service is part of the Treasury
Department, and Treasury Secretary
Paul O'Neill reportedly has endorsed
The Justice Department already over-
sees the INS, which the administration
has been overhauling after years of
gaffes and charges of incompetence.
Fed optimistic about
The Federal Reserve left a key inter-
est rate unchanged yesterday and began
preparing Americans for the possibility
that short-term rates will go higher this
year as the country bounces back from
After 11 consecutive rate reductions
last year, Fed Chairman Alan
Greenspan and his colleagues opted to
continue to hold the federal funds rate
at 1.75 percent, the lowest level in 40
years. The decision was announced
after a closed-door meeting.
Stocks fell after the announcement.
In January, the Fed, citing signs of
an economic rebound, ended a year-
long stretch of uninterrupted credit
easing when it left the funds rate
Yesterday, the Fed policy-makers
were even more upbeat about the econ-
Students could be
subject to drug tests
A rural Oklahoma school district
took a sensible approach to stemming
what it saw as the general problem of
drug use among students when it
required drug testing before students
could participate in after-school activi-
ties, the school lawyer argued to the
Supreme Court yesterday.
Several justices seemed ready to
agree with the school that the random
drug tests are constitutional even
though the school had reported no
widespread drug problem in the past
and there was no reason to suspect
the students in band or 4-H of using
"You think life and death is not'at
issue in the fight against drugs?" Jus-
tice Antonin Scalia barked at an Ameri-
can Civil Liberties Union lawyer
challenging the tests.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
l E, iil~i~tn+ tiU
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