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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


U.S. bombs Taliban, whose offer Bush spurns

WASHINGTON/KABUL (REUTERS) — U.S. warplanes bombed Afghanistan for a second week after President Bush rejected a new offer from the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country, and Secretary of State Colin Powell headed for Pakistan to shore up support.

Meanwhile, a nervous United States continued fearful of strange letters as new reports of people exposed to the bio-terrorism agent anthrax surfaced. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice warned that the country would remain on high alert for an undetermined time.

American warplanes screamed over Afghanistan overnight, pounding Kabul and other cities despite the ruling Taliban’s offers to the United States and their civil-war foes.

The capital Kabul and Taliban stronghold of Kandahar were hit as the campaign to flush out Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden — who the United States accuses of masterminding the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on American soil, killing more than 5,000 civilians — moved into a second week.

At least one plane dropped bombs on the Afghan capital Monday morning, Qatar’s al-Jazeera satellite television said.

Its correspondent in Kabul said more than one plane circled the capital and that the raids were continuing. He added that smoke could be seen in the distance.

Kabul’s international telephone exchange was destroyed, cutting Afghanistan’s last fixed, albeit unreliable, link to the outside world, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The Taliban insisted they would not be bullied into handing over bin Laden, but said he could be given to a neutral country if Washington provided evidence linking him to last month’s suicide plane attacks.

President Bush rejected the offer. “When I said no negotiations, I meant no negotiations,” he told reporters in Washington. “We know he is guilty. Turn him over.”

The Taliban, who have imposed their own radical interpretation of Islam on the impoverished, war-ravaged nation, say a week of raids has killed more than 300 people.

Bush’s national security adviser Rice, in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” on Sunday urged Americans jittery over possible retaliation ranging from bombings to bio-terrorism not to panic but said the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon exposed the vulnerable side of America’s open society.

“We’re still on a very high state of alert. I think we’re going to remain on a high state of alert for some time,” she said.

Secretary of State Powell arrives in Islamabad Monday to discuss the bombing of Afghanistan with military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, knowing many Pakistanis violently oppose U.S. efforts to capture or kill bin Laden.

Powell is expected to discuss the shape of a future Afghan government with Pakistan’s rulers. Bush has begun to plan for dealing with a new Afghan government if the Taliban regime should fall under the attacks, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

On Sunday, the eighth night of the U.S.-led bombing campaign, at least four planes flew over the Afghan capital of Kabul and dropped bombs close to the ruling Taliban’s front line, facing the opposition Northern Alliance, a witness said.

“I saw a flash in the north part of the city,” the witness said. “There were at least three bombs, and two were in the northern suburbs near the front line.”


With the United States on high alert for further attacks, five more employees of a Florida supermarket tabloid publisher tested positive for anthrax exposure. One worker has died of the disease. In addition, three more people tested positive for exposure to anthrax bacteria in New York, where a letter containing the bacteria was sent to NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw.

The new cases in Boca Raton brought to eight the number of workers at American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, Globe and other sex-and-scandal supermarket tabloids, to have been exposed to the deadly bacteria.

In New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said a total of five people were now known to have been exposed to anthrax — two employees at NBC, plus a police detective and two health workers who came into contact with the letter to Brokaw. Giuliani said the policeman and the lab technicians had spores in their nose or skin, “but this does not mean they have anthrax.”

The two employees at NBC showed symptoms of skin anthrax exposure after coming into contact with the envelope containing a granular substance. The cases, along with suspicious envelopes sent to other companies, including The New York Times and a Microsoft subsidiary in Reno, Nevada, have raised fears of a biological attack linked to the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

Officials in Reno said four of the six people exposed to anthrax in a letter sent from Malaysia had tested negative and tests had not been completed on the other two.



Tommy Thompson, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, said it was too early to blame bin Laden’s al Qaeda network for the anthrax-contaminated mail.

“There’s no question it’s bio-terrorism,” Thompson said. “It’s a biological agent. It’s terrorism, it’s a crime. … But whether or not it’s connected to al Qaeda, we can’t say conclusively.”

Fears of germ warfare spread to Brazil Sunday after a ground cleaning crew found a white powder aboard a flight from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro. Health officials were conducting tests to determine if the substance discovered on the Lufthansa plane was dangerous, a spokesman said.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said some of the people responsible for the Sept. 11 assaults were probably still in the United States planning other missions. “We are doing everything possible to disrupt, interrupt, prevent, to destabilize any additional activity,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “We are on alert.”


Meanwhile, in another possible sign the U.S. raids were sapping Taliban strength, the Taliban intelligence chief said Sunday that his radical Islamic movement wanted opposition commanders to join it to fight the U.S.-led attacks on the country.

Qari Ahmadullah was quoted by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press as saying that Omar, the Taliban leader, had issued orders not to seize weapons from opposition fighters who joined hands with the Taliban. The Taliban control more than 90 percent of Afghanistan, the rest of which is held by the Northern Alliance.

Bin Laden’s al Qaeda group warned the United States and Britain to end the air strikes and get out of the Gulf or suffer more violent attacks and a “storm of hijacked planes.”

U.S. jets bombed military targets and the airport Sunday in southern Kandahar, the old royal capital and a Taliban redoubt, causing a fire, according to reported. Herat airport in western Afghanistan was also pounded in five raids from 3 a.m., reports from the Afghan Islamic Press said.

The Taliban estimate that more than 300 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since air raids began Oct. 7, and Saturday the Pentagon acknowledged that a 2,000-pound bomb had hit a house in Kabul after missing its target at the airport. At least one person died and four wounded by the bomb.


In the eastern village of Khorum, Taliban officials said as many as 200 people might have been killed when mud huts and livestock pens were flattened in an air raid Wednesday.

Taliban officials say 160 bodies had been pulled from the rubble so far. Villagers from neighboring hamlets were looking for more when reporters accompanied by the Taliban toured the area.

“I ask America not to kill us,” pleaded resident Hussain Khan, who said he had lost four children in the raid and survived only by racing from the house when he heard the plane.

The stench of death enveloped the village Sunday. In the rubble of one house, the remains of an arm stuck out from beneath a pile of bricks. A leg had been uncovered nearby.

Some freshly dug graves could be seen, but it was impossible to verify how many people had died.

There has been no word from Washington on Khorum.

The call to arms by the Taliban and al Qaeda has been largely rejected in the Muslim world, but anti-U.S. protests continued in Pakistan and elsewhere.

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