Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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Pakistani officials said that mosques and religious seminaries all across Afghanistan would continue to serve as the power base for the Taliban, whose supreme leaders still, apparently, enjoy the support of some 800 Afghan religious scholars who had brought Omar to power by naming him as the 'Ameerul Momineen' [leader of the faithful] of Afghanistan in 1994.
"Without at least tacit support of these religious scholars, who belong to every ethnic minority of Afghanistan, the new government in Afghanistan would remain unstable," said a government source. "The role of these Afghan religious scholars may prove decisive for the future of Taliban movement in Afghanistan," he said.
Pakistani officials privately acknowledged that despite the best efforts of government of Pakistan hundreds of Afghan Taliban and their leaders managed to reach here through various mountain passes in the last weeks. The Afghan Taliban have secured initial shelter in the tribal areas and with people who run religious madaris [Islamic seminaries], particularly in the NWFP [Northwest Frontier Province] and Balochistan provinces.
The government's Afghan watchers now believe that the secret understanding reached between the new Pushtun leaders of Afghanistan such as Hamid Karzai, Gul Agha, Haji Qadeer and the Taliban leaders and followers would go a long way in cementing a Pushtun resistance to counter the hegemonistic political designs of the Northern Alliance leadership.
Hamid Karzai, the new Afghan head of state, was surprised on Sunday over the recent visit of India by nominated interior minister of Afghanistan Yunus Qanooni and his anti-Pakistan statements in New Delhi. Karzai is yet to be informed about the proposed visit to India by Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the new Afghan foreign minister.
[Description of Source: Islamabad The News in English -- Independent daily, member of the Jang Publishing Group]
Pakistan Army Fails To Arrest Ex-Taliban Defense Minister in Raid, Son Detained
SAP20011220000124 Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu 20 Dec 01 pp 17
[Report by Correspondent: "Raid on Home of Maulvi Jalalauddin Haaqani"]
Mir Ali -- The residence of the former Minister of Defense and Border Affairs in the Taliban government, Maulvi Jalal-ud-Din Haqqani (in the Pakistani tribal agency of South Waziristan) has been raided by the army. His son has also been arrested.
The raid was conducted to nab Maulvi Haqqani. However, he was not at home at the time.
According to details, army personnel dispatched from Islamabad along with lady inspectors raided the house of Maulvi Haqqani at 11 o'clock on the night of Id-al-Fitr. They searched his house with the help of the lady inspectors. The troops arrested the son of Haqqani, Hafiz Sirajuddin and his former deputy, Moulvi Nizamuddin alias Tor. However, both them were released after a 12-hour detention.
According to local people, some Americans also accompanied the Pakistani troops in white clothes.
Talking to daily Ausaf from an unknown destination in Afghanistan, Maulvi Haqqani said that he did not intend to return to Pakistan at the moment. He said that he had been struggling for the betterment of Afghanistan and will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, a KPI report from Miran Shah says that the family of Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani has been asked to vacate the official residence in Pakistan and also to leave the country.
The report said Frontier Corps personnel raided the houses of Maulvi Haqqani but he was not at home. The personnel asked the family to vacate the house and was given till this evening to go back across the border.
It quoted the son of Maulvi Haqqani, Badruddin as saying that talks were continuing with local elders of the Pakistani tribal town, where they the family is residing.
When contacted local militia officers refused to divulge any details.
[Description of Source: Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu -- Newspaper with strong anti-India views. Gives wide coverage to fundamentalist religious groups]

Afghanistan: Further on US bombing of leadership convoy

IAP20011221000065 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 1710 GMT 21 Dec 01
Text of report by Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency
Peshawar, 21 December: American aircraft today and last night in Paktia [Province, south of Kabul] bombed a convoy of leadership and jihadi commanders of Khost which was on its way to Kabul to take part in the ceremonies marking the transfer of power. As a result of the bombing 65 people have been martyred.

A spokesman for Paktia Council Mr, (?Said Yaqeen) told Afghan Islamic Agency from Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province, that last night a convoy of tribal leaders and jehadi commanders of Khost [South eastern Afghanistan] was moving from Khost to Gardez. The convoy continued its journey on another road 25 kilometres away from Gardez, near Sato Kandaw. This morning American aircraft bombed it several times.

He said that 65 people, including some leaders and commanders, had been martyred as a result of this bombing.

This convoy was making a scheduled trip from Gardez to Kabul to take part in the ceremonies marking the transfer of power in Kabul on 22 December. However, 25 dead bodies reached Khost this evening. According to Afghan Islamic Press Agency sources, 14 vehicles in the convoy were completely destroyed.

According to one report commander (?Mohammad Ebrahim) brother of commander Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani [former minister for tribal affairs under Rabbani and under Taleban regimes] has been martyred. Further reports about the names of the dead and wounded tribal leaders and commanders have been coming in.

However, Afghan Islamic Press has no further details about this. Earlier today Afghan Islamic Agency reported that 15 people had been martyred.

[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans; good contacts with Taliban leadership. Faxes reliable, hand-written news reports, describing itself as independent and self-financing]

Pakistan daily reports 80 tribal elders dead in US bombings in Afghan provinces

SAP20011222000034 Islamabad The News (Internet Version-WWW) in English 22 Dec 01
[Report by Behroz Khan: "80 tribal elders killed in US bombing"]
PESHAWAR: Over 80 people are reported dead and scores of others were injured when US warplanes resumed bombing in two south-eastern provinces of Afghanistan on Friday in pursuit of terror suspect Osama bin Laden and Taliban fighters.
"About 60 people died in the bombing in Khost bazaar on Friday morning as a result of bombing resumed by US planes after few weeks. One of my nephew, Timoor Shah is among the dead ones", said Haji Amin Kochay, brother of Haji Naeem Kochay.
Eyewitnesses informed from Paktia that at least 20 persons were killed and dozens others were injured during air strikes in Sarkando area of the province, which they said, had fallen victims to the misinformation campaign unleashed by the anti-Taliban elements.
Haji Amin said a tribal Jirga [grand assembly] was in session at Khost when US jets pounded the venue with several bombs adding that the bombing lasted for almost two hours. "This is criminal on the part of the informers, who misguided the Americans and caused the death of innocent civilians", Haji Amin said.
He said these tribals had assembled in a bid to form a delegation to be sent to Kabul to assure support to Hamid Karzai-led new Afghan government, but the enemies of peace, he said, provided wrong information to the US forces and gave the impression as if the meeting was being held in support of the Taliban.
Haji Amin said locals informed him from Khost that streets in the small dusty town were littered with blood and residents fled for safe haven, as the bombing prolonged and targeted residential areas. "No presence of Taliban can be proved in Khost and Paktia to justify the bombing. And after all, the victims of the bombing are civilians and not fighters from the Taliban movement or the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden", Haji Amin said.
The brother of Haji Amin, Haji Naeem Kochay was minister for Frontier in Taliban government. In Sarkando area of Paktia province, locals said the US warplanes dropped bombs on villages, which left at least 20 persons dead and a number of others injured.
The bombing on Paktia and Khost, locals believe, could be in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and some local Taliban leaders, including Taliban leader, Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, who had escaped an earlier assassination attempt, when US planes dropped bombs on his residence and the adjacent madrassa (religious school), which killed 16 persons and injured more than a dozens last month.
Tribals from Paktia said that neither Osama bin Laden nor any top leader of his al-Qaeda organisation has showed up in the area in the recent past. Khost was targeted with cruise missiles in 1998 in pursuit of Osama bin Laden.
AFP adds: An Afghan news agency reported meanwhile that 65 people were killed in US bombing. Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said that the convoy hit by the warplanes was a military target and she was unaware of reports that the bombing could have been a mistake.
"I don't know about this report, but we did attack a convoy," she said. "Definitely it was a military target." Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that many had died in the strike on the convoy. "It was a large convoy, and there were a lot of people killed and a lot of vehicles damaged, or destroyed," he told a Pentagon briefing.
General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the convoy was attacked around Khost, southwest of Tora Bora, former stronghold of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. "We had some intelligence indicators that were cross-referenced and determined by Central Command that in fact what we had was a convoy of vehicles, about 10 to 12 that contained leadership," Pace said.
The convoy was pummelled by AC-130 gunships, and fighter aircraft launched from US carriers, Pace said. A command and control compound from which the convoy had departed was also hit, Pace said.

[Description of Source: Islamabad The News in English -- Independent daily, member of the Jang Publishing Group]

Iran: 65 Afghan tribal elders reported killed in US bombing overnight
IAP20011222000034 Tehran IRNA in English 0055 GMT 22 Dec 01
Islamabad, Dec 22, IRNA -- At least sixty-five Afghan tribal elders have been killed in a last night U.S planes attack on their convoy, moving towards capital Kabul for the inauguration of Afghanistan's new government.

American fighter planes rained bombs on the vehicles on a road at Sato Kandaw, 25 kms south of Gardez, the capital of Paktia province, said eye witnesses, who crossed into the Pakistani border town of Miranshah.

Paktia is on the Pakistan frontier and also borders eastern Nangarhar province, where US warplanes have carried out intense bombing raids over the past two weeks to force fighters of Osama bin Laden out of their mountain hideouts.

Correspondents in Miranshah say that tribal chiefs and commanders were among the victims. However, the Pentagon officials have defended the attack on the convoy, saying that senior Taliban and Al-Qaida members were traveling in the vehicles.

According to the report fourteen vehicles in the convoy were totally destroyed and the victims included Taliban commander Mohammadi Ibrahim, brother of the renowned Afghan commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani. TK/MMZ/RR End

[Description of Source: Tehran IRNA -- official state-run news agency]

Pakistan: Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani's School, Offices in North Waziristan Closed
SAP20020107000044 Rawalpindi Jang in Urdu 03 Jan 02 pp 8 7
[Report by correspondent: "Maulivi Jalaluddin Haqqani's school, offices in North Waziristan closed"]
Miran Shah -- The political administration has sealed the religious school and offices of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the supreme commander of the former Taliban government who had been living in North Waziristan for the last 30 years, on Wednesday [2 January] evening after the expiry of the deadline. The 2,000 students studying at the school were expelled. The political administration searched the school with the help of the Scouts, however there was no Taliban or al-Qa'ida member there.
Moreover, US aircraft flew above the Pakistan-Afghanistan border adjoining North Waziristan on Wednesday [2 January]. Meanwhile, it has been learned that Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani is alive. After being injured in a US bombardment, he has recovered now and is presently in Afghanistan.
[Description of Source: Rawalpindi Jang in Urdu -- Largest circulation daily]

Afghanistan: Taliban minister Haqqani 'might have died' of wounds after US bombing

IAP20011226000071 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 1500 GMT 26 Dec 01
Peshawar, 26 December: It has been reported by very reliable information sources that Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani [Taliban border affairs minister] was severely wounded in mid-December as a result of US aerial bombing.

Reliable information sources told the Afghan Islamic Press at Miranshah [Pakistan south eastern border] this evening that Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani was severely wounded as a result of the aerial bombardment by the United States on 16 December in the Zani Khel region, west of Khost Province. Five of his bodyguards were martyred.

The sources also said that he had then been transferred to an unknown location. Mr Haqqani has not been seen since that date and it is possible that he might have died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

In another development the people of the provinces of Paktia and Khost today told the Afghan Islamic Press that a large number of people were martyred in Paktia and Khost in the US bombing. However, it is difficult to say whether or not Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani was among them. A resident of the Zadran region in Paktia Province told the Afghan Islamic Press that many dead have been buried in the Haqqani family graveyard and Mr Haqqani's relatives are visiting the grave yard with deep respect. It is for this reason that the rumors about his having been martyred and buried in this graveyard are becoming stronger.

It has however been 100 percent proven to the Afghan Islamic Press that he was wounded. (It should be mentioned that the Afghan Islamic Press had filed a report on the bombardment in AIP report 612). Haqqani was a powerful commander in the time of the jihad [against the Russians] and was the minister of tribal and border affairs during the time of the Taliban.

[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans; good contacts with Taliban leadership. Faxes reliable, hand-written news reports, describing itself as independent and self-financing]

Pakistan: Tribal Elders Take Over School, Offices of Taliban Supreme Commander

SAP20020105000120 Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu 05 Jan 02 pp 8 7
[NNI report: "Darpa Khel tribe takes control of Haqqani's seminary"]
Miran Shah: Elders of the local Darpakhel tribe in the North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan have taken control of the seminary and offices of Taliban Supreme Commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani.
Haqqani set up a school in the Pakistani area 20 years ago where thousands of students received religious education.
To arrest Haqqani, the [Pakistan] Government recently tightened the noose around his relatives. All his relatives have now been expelled from their houses.
Local administrators--Ghulam Khan and Khalid Mumtaz--raided the seminary and told the elders of the area that Haqqani had no authority over the school. Therefore, the elders took control of the seminary.
Authorities have directed the elders that the premises should be used only for imparting religious education to students and if any member of the al-Qa'ida network was found there, action would be taken and even the seminary could be dismantled.

[Description of Source: Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu -- Newspaper with strong anti-India views. Gives wide coverage to fundamentalist religious groups]

Afghanistan: Pakistani tribe de-Talibanizes former Afghan official's religious school

IAP20020105000014 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 0650 GMT 05 Jan 02
Peshawar, 5 January: The [Peshawar] Pashto daily Wahdat ["Unity", publishing in Pashto, but most of the writers are Afghans who previously worked for the Hezb-e Eslami newspaper Shahadat] writes in its 5th January edition:

[Headline] Darpakhel tribe captures and takes over control of the madrasa [religious school] and offices of Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani [the former minister for tribal affairs under the Rabbani and Taleban regimes]. Only religious education will be given in the madrasa, tribal elders promised.

[Article] Miranshah, Wahdat news: The Darpakhel tribe has captured and taken over control of former Taleban commander Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani's, madrasa [religious school] and offices. This happened after the change in [Pakistan's] Afghan policy. Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani, who has been running the madrasa for the past 20 years, has been dispossessed. The tribes have been told by the [Pakistani] political administration that Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani has no right to run the madrasa, and that the elders of the Darpakhel tribe have captured and taken over control of Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani's madrasa and offices.

The tehsildar [area officer] of the [Pakistani] political administration has sworn to the tribal elders that only religious education will be given in the madrasa. If Al-Qa'idah or Taleban members are found in the madrasa, the administration will take severe action, and there is a possibility that the madrasa will be demolished.

That was the news which was published in the daily "Wahdat".

It should be recalled that Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani is included in the [wanted] list issued by the [antiterrorist] allies, and America want to capture him. America bombed the areas in which he was thought to be present. It is also said that he was injured in the American bombing of 16 September [actually November] 2001.

In its 5th January edition, another Urdu daily, Islamabad's Osaf ["Qualities"], quotes Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League and of Defence of Afghanistan, and a deputy head of Afghanistan's Council of Sarhad [i.e. Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province - NWFP], as saying that, if oppression is not stopped against the Arab mojahedin, we will surround the prison in Kohat [a city in NWFP].

Islamabad: Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a member of Defence of Afghanistan and deputy head of Afghanistan's Council of Sarhad, said yesterday that, if oppression and cruelty are not stopped against the Arab mojahedin prisoners at Kohat prison, he will ask people to surround the prison. During his telephoned protest about oppression of the Arab prisoners, he said that "after Friday prayers at Badshahi mosque in Kohat, a written protest was approved, condemning the oppression and cruelty by the FBI against the Arab mojahedin and demanding an end to it.

Referring to the Arab mojahedin, he said in the written protest that they had entered Pakistan with legal passports and visas, and that America and the FBI were oppressing them in Kohat prison without any proof or investigation. He said when they were being taken from Kohat prison to the airport, their feet were chained. He added that, if this oppression and cruelty are not stopped, we will surround the prison and will teach the American teams a harsh lesson. He added that the defence council [as given] would also summon a separate meeting.

[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans; good contacts with Taliban leadership. Faxes reliable, hand-written news reports, describing itself as independent and self-financing]

Afghanistan: US soldier killed while investigating US bombing at request of elders
IAP20020105000029 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 1113 GMT 05 Jan 02
Peshawar: According to reports reaching [us] from Khost Province, yesterday an American was attacked in (?Matah Chinah) west of Khost [Province in southeastern Afghanistan].
Travellers arriving in Miram Shah [Pakistani border area] told Afghan Islamic Press that late yesterday afternoon an attack took place in Matah Chinah, 6 km west of Khowst, as a result of which one American was killed and another American soldier and two Afghan guides were injured. The dead body of the American and the injured were taken away by helicopter.
Matah Chinah was heavily bombed by US aircraft on 16-17 November; 34 students were killed in Jalaloddin Haqqani madrassa.
According to reports, this group of 25 soldiers had come at the repeated demands of tribal leaders to see whether American aircraft had targeted military sites or sites in the city. They had not been there 24 hours when the US soldiers were attacked.
Eyewitnesses also said that helicopters were flying over Khowst Province yesterday.
It is noteworthy that there is no joint council in Khowst Province, and three tribal leaders -- Pasha Khan Zadran, who supports former Afghan king Mohammad Zaher Shah, Zaki Khan, who supports former Afghan President Borhanoddin Rabbani, and engineer Zakim Khan Zadran, who enjoys the support of some tribal leaders and jihadi commanders -- claim superiority.

[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans; good contacts with Taliban leadership. Faxes reliable, hand-written news reports, describing itself as independent and self-financing]

Ex-Mujahideen Leaders Join Forces To Struggle Against Interim Afghan Government
SAP20020105000102 Rawalpindi Nawa-i-Waqt in Urdu 05 Jan 02 pp 1 7
[Report by Suhail Abdul Nasir: "Hekmatyar, Sayyaf, Haqqani agree on joint struggle"]
Islamabad: The situation in Afghanistan has entered a new phase after the removal of the Taliban government and the induction of the interim administration.
Former Mojahedin leaders, who struggled against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, are once again aligning themselves.
According to the latest information, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Prof Abdur Rab Rasool Sayyaf, and Jalaluddin Haqqani have agreed to wage a joint struggle against the foreign interference in Afghanistan and the formation of an Islamic government in the country.
Gulbadin Hekmatyar is presently in Tehran but a number of his party leaders have returned to Afghanistan.
Ittehad-i-Islami leader Abdur Rab Rasool Sayyaf was part of the Northern Alliance while fighting against the Taliban, but his group is not part of the interim government.
According to sources, Sayyaf is presently in Kabul but he is virtually under the government custody because his contacts with other groups.
Jalaluddin Haqqani was injured in the US bombing on Khost more than 25 days ago and there were reports that he had been killed. However, his family says that he is alive and busy in organizing Jihad activities.
The sources said the head of the interim government, Hamid Karzai, is well aware of this situation and knows that his government might face serious threats from the southeastern belt, particularly the area from Kabul to Kandahar, in the coming months.

Karzai, whose only base of support is the United States, wants a compromise with these emerging forces. For this very purpose, he has started to establish contacts with Jalaluddin Haqqani.

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