US pastor wins car for not torching Quran copies
Blast at Iran Revolutionary Guards base kills 18
Suspected drone strikes kill 13 in Pakistan
Krishna defends Omar's J&K accession remarks
'Headley's wife warned FBI of his LeT links yrs before 26/11'
Bugti’s son seeking legal advice to bring Musharraf back
Mullah Omar close to Qaeda: US
US wants lists of all passengers using Pakistan airports
Eighteen Pakistanis released from Yemen jails
Bangladesh: 1971 marchers recognised after 39 years
‘Turkey has a vital role in regional politics’
Turkish nationalists accused of killing bishop
Students fined over headscarves
Nato has facilitated Taliban movement: Petraeus
Pak to bid for non-permanent UNSC seat next year
Karzai's brother to be indicted for tax fraud?
Wanted Saudi terror suspect surrenders
Iran faces a bleak future: US
Sudan votes hampered by threats, delays, funding — UN
Holbrooke: Contacts with Taleban picking up
NY cops gear up to avert 26/11-style terror attack
Nato's 'safe passage' for Taliban
Iran says detained Germans "admit they broke the law"
Yemen posts reward for al Qaeda suspects
Tussle between executive and judiciary in Pak
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
'Al Qaeda, LeT planned to attack CWG venues on Oct 12-13'
Octorber 16, 2010
New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba had planned to attack some venues of the just-concluded Commonwealth Games on October 12 and 13, prompting the government to put in place a four-layer security arrangement in the last three days of the sporting extravaganza.
Besides this, in a bid to destroy the highly-secured security structure put in place by India, hundreds of cyber attacks were carried out, which were suspected to be originating from China, to penetrate the computerised system and servers during the Games fortnight.
A Western intelligence agency had tipped off the government on October 10 that al Qaeda and LeT militants, trained along the Afghan-Pakistan borders, would try to attack a few venues and a hotel, government sources said.
Alarmed by the input, the government enhanced the security of the Games venues and Village from three layers to four and brought in additional forces, including heavily-armed commandos, to foil any attempt of sabotage even from air.
Octorber 16 2010
NEW JERSEY: A New Jersey car dealer plans to keep his word after offering Florida pastor Terry Jones a new car if he promised to not burn a Quran.
Car dealer Brad Benson made the offer in one of his dealership's quirky radio ads, which focus more on current events than cars. But he was surprised when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for $14,200.
"They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car," Benson recalled. At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver's license. He did.
Jones never burned a Quran but said on Thursday that the offer of a car was not the reason. He said he plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.
"We are not trying to profit from this. We are not keeping the car for ourselves ," Jones said from California.
Times of India
An explosion at a base belonging to Iran's Revolutionary Guards has killed 18 people and injured 14.
Reports are emerging of the blast at an ammunitions store on Tuesday in north-western Lorestan province.
The injured were taken to Khoramabad, 300 miles (500 km) southwest of Tehran.
An elite military force, the Revolutionary Guard was set up shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution to defend the country's Islamic system.
It has since become a major military, political and economic force in Iran.
The Revolutionary Guard has been targeted by UN sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment.
The north-west of Iran has seen several attacks in recent months by Kurdish militants against the Iranian military.
The military is fighting armed groups and separatist movements in the south-east along the border with Pakistan as well as in the far north-west along the border with Iraq.
Tehran has accused the US and Britain of provoking ethnic unrest to undermine Iran's security
In October 2009, a suicide bomber killed at least 42 people, including senior Guard commanders, near the Pakistani border. Sunni rebels known as Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, were blamed.
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suspected U.S. drone strikes left 13 people dead in Pakistan's tribal region, intelligence officials said Saturday.
Unmanned aircraft targeted two hideouts for suspected militants in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, the two Pakistani intelligence officials said.
North Waziristan is one of seven districts bordering Afghanistan.
In the first strike, two missiles were fired, killing six suspected militants. In the second strike, one missile killed three suspected militants. Both strikes occurred Friday night.
Earlier in the day, a drone strike killed four suspected militants in North Waziristan's Machi Khel area. Officials said two missiles hit an alleged militant vehicle.
The intelligence officials asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
While the United States is the only country in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones -- which are controlled remotely -- U.S. officials normally do not comment on suspected drone strikes.
October 16, 2010
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday said he found "nothing objectionable" in Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's remark that the state had acceded to and not merged with the Union of India.
"I don't think Abdullah has said anything objectionable. It is a fact that Jammu and Kashmir has acceded to India just like Mysore did," Krishna said here when asked for his reaction to Omar Abdullah's the recent remark.
Krishna stressed that like in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja of Mysore also had signed an accession treaty. "And I am a citizen of Mysore," he said.
Abdullah had said in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly that the state had only acceded to and not merged with the Union of India and could not be compared to Junagarh and Hyderabad, triggering outrage from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Krishna, however, asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is a "legitimate part" of India and reiterated India's objections to the Chinese practice of issuing stapled visas to Indian residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Chinese practice is seen here as a ploy to question India's sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir.
Krishna said New Delhi has made it clear to Beijing that it was not acceptable and that there was need to "be sensitive to each other's core concerns" to build relations.
"We have conveyed to them (China) that we do not accept the stapled visas and we are not going to accept these," he said.
"China should keep our sensitivities in mind. That's how relationships are built, sustained and nurtured," the minister said.
WASHINGTON: Three years prior to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the FBI was warned of the strikes and David Headley's links with the LeT by the wife of the Pakistani-American terrorist, says an investigative report.
"Three years before Pakistani terrorists struck Mumbai in 2008, federal agents in New York City investigated a tip that an American businessman was training in Pakistan with the group that later executed the attack," according to the report on the 26/11 attacks published by ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom engaged in investigative journalism in the public interest.
"The previously undisclosed allegations against David Coleman Headley, who became a key figure in the plot that killed 166 people, came from his wife after a domestic dispute that resulted in his arrest in 2005," the report said.
In three interviews with federal agents, Headley's wife said he was an active militant in Lashkar-e-Taiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment, the report investigated by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica said citing officials and sources close to the case.
A version of the investigative report released yesterday by ProPublica -- which is supported entirely by philanthropy and provides the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its website and to leading news organisations -- was also published by the online edition of 'The Washington Post'.
There was no immediate response from the FBI on the authenticity of the report.
By Dilshad Azeem
ISLAMABAD: Talal Bugti, son of slain Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, says he has sought legal advice from senior lawyers for General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf’s early repatriation and trial either inside Pakistan or in the United Kingdom for his father’s murder.
“Besides, my legal aides will also move a petition in the Supreme Court seeking measures at the state level such as seeking his extradition through Interpol or diplomatic channels,” Talal told The News on Wednesday.
To a question he said his earlier application for the trial of those involved in Akbar Bugti’s assassination is still pending before the apex court for the last so many months. “That is why we are now moving a petition rather than filing another application and this time Musharraf, the real culprit, will be the focus.”
Talal Bugti hinted at the issuance of a ‘Fatwa’ from the religious scholars to declare Pervez Musharraf a “Suleman Rushdi” of Pakistan. “Which crime did he not commit in his eight-year dictatorial rule? Soon you will get a ‘Fatwa’ from the Ulema of all schools of thought over his heinous crimes, with particular reference to the massacre at Lal Masjid.”
He expressed his readiness for a face-to-face encounter with Musharraf on Akbar Bugti’s murder. “I accept his challenge and am fully prepared for it.” He said a retired military officer is ready to turn approver against former dictator.
Talal, who leads Jamhori Wattan Party (JWP), ruled out the possibility of a direct contact with the government to seek Musharraf’s return, saying the PPP leadership is protecting him.
“Did not they (rulers) arrange a guard of honour and safe exit for a dictator despite knowing about his involvement in Akbar Bugti’s murder and so many other crimes?” he asked. He asked Musharraf to face the people of Pakistan instead of issuing irresponsible statements from abroad. “We have a strong case against Musharraf as not only he is a murderer of thousands of people but also of democracy,” he said.
The JWP chief disclosed that he along with his son Shahzain Bugti would meet Islamabad-based diplomats in connection with their campaign to get Musharraf back. “We will be in Islamabad in a week or so.”
The US has said that it cannot see top Taliban leader Mullah Omar meeting the criteria for peace talks with the Afghan government and playing a constructive role in Afghanistan's future as he continues to have his close association with Al Qaeda. "Everything that we know suggests he still is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda, and as such, would disqualify himself from any participation in this process or any involvement in the future of Afghanistan," State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, told reporters at his daily news briefing.
"There are particular red lines, if you want to call it, that we have agreed with the international community and Afghanistan.
There's no indication that Mullah Omar has any intention of meeting the standards that we've laid out," Crowley said in response to a question.
Mullah Omar has had many opportunities to disassociate himself with Al Qaeda, he added.
However, the State Department spokesman acknowledged that Pakistan has a role in the peace process, even though he insisted that it is an Afghan-led peace process.
"Well, it's an Afghan-led process but we know it has been a topic of discussion between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We would hope that Pakistan, like the international community, will support this process as well," Crowley said.
"In the President's strategy, we are focusing significant attention not just on Afghanistan, but also on Pakistan because we do understand that the solution to the region rests on both sides of that border," he said.
"President Karzai has appointed members of the peace council. I think Ambassador Holbrooke has indicated now that we've got the structure in place and these individuals in place, we expect this process to accelerate," he said in response to a question.
While the US is not directly participating in these talks, Crowley said US-led international community is facilitating the peace process.
"There are contacts between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. As we have acknowledged, we are helping to facilitate those meetings," he said.
"Obviously, to travel through Afghanistan from point A to point B, it is best to coordinate with the Afghan Government and ISAF so everyone's aware of what is happening, but I’m not going to go into great detail.
But the facilitation really involves the movement of people to meeting locations but beyond that, we are just simply doing what the Afghan Government has asked us to do to promote this process.
We are supporting this process, and we think it's critical to resolving the conflict that is ongoing," he said.
By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON: The United States wants Pakistan to provide the names of all the passengers coming in and going out of its airports but Islamabad stubbornly resisted the demand because it would impinge on the country’s sovereignty.
The demand was made after the Faisal Shahzad attempted bombing at the Times Square and also because of an earlier plot to bomb New York by Najibullah Zazi, who was arrested in Denver on Sept 19, 2009.
Bob Woodward’s book ‘Obama’s Wars’ reveals that US intelligence showed some 100 westerners, including many with US passports or visas were being trained in Pakistani safe havens and the US intelligence had lost track of too many of those people.
It says the investigations into these two cases had established that both Faisal Shahzad and Zazi went to Pakistan for training but the US government did not have any record of their travels.
Pakistanis, the book says, rejected the US demand of providing lists of all passengers because “they suspected it would give the US insight into where the (Pakistani) intelligence officers were going. Most ISI agents were flying east to India or Bangladesh,” Woodward reported.
“So the US had proposed just getting the data of flights heading over to the Persian Gulf, Europe and US, but the Pakistanis stubbornly resisted,” the book revealed.
In the event of a terrorist attack on US, a senior US official worried, it would be hard for President Obama to defend Pakistan because their leaders had refused to do what had been simple and easy, especially on the visas and passenger lists.
“If two near-misses were the leading edge of a trend, what would it take to wake the Pakistanis up?” the book quoted an official as saying.
Woodward said he raised this question in an interview with President Obama, two months after the failed Times Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad. “He (Obama) played up Pakistan’s counter-terrorism (CT) efforts. They also ramped up their CT cooperation in a way that over the last 18 months has hunkered down al Qaeda in a way that is significant,” Obama told Woodward.
Full report at:
KARACHI: Eighteen Pakistanis were released from different jails in Yemen arrived at the airport in Karachi on Saturday, DawnNews reported.
The 18 had been jailed for violation territorial seas and for other offences.
Four of the released Pakistanis hail from Karachi and the remaining are from Peshawar.
More than 110 Pakistanis are still languishing in prisons in Yemen. — DawnNews
"It just feels like the 1971," said Mohammad Abdus Samad, one of the 38 men who started marching from West Bengal to Delhi to raise public support for the War of Liberation in Bangladesh.
The Liberation War Museum authorities yesterday accorded a reception to these heroes of war on the museum premises. This league of extraordinary men was comprised of two men from 19 districts of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
In 39 years, this was the first time that as many as 30 members of the group gathered in one place. Two of the team members could not make it to the reception, as they are ill while six are now abroad.
Carrying a banner that read “Biswa Bibek Jagoron Podojatra” (March for global consciousness) these 38 men started marching from Baharampur of Murshidabad in West Bengal towards the Indian capital of Delhi on October 15, 1971.
Their aim was to reach Delhi by January 1972 and approach different foreign embassies and media to drum up support for the liberation of Bangladesh.
The heroes, however, did not need to go all the way to Delhi, as the country won its liberty on December 16, 1971 when the team reached Lucknow, a Northern province in India. Overwhelmed with joy, they return to the free motherland they always wished for.
"We thought that the history had forgotten us. But now it feels that we are back. I cannot express my ecstasy in words," Ahiduzzaman Chaklader, a proud member of the team, told The Daily Star.
Full report at:
By Asim Yasin
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that Turkey has an important role to play for not only bringing in socio-economic development in the region but also for the stability of the region as regional issues can best be addressed by regional powers and finding indigenous solutions.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday. Briefing the media, presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the president, during the meeting reiterated the proposal of upgradation of railway line between Pakistan andTurkey and urged the Turkish Prime Minister to seriously consider the proposal.
The president said that Pakistan was eager to further enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries for taking maximum advantage of the existing potential of the two countries and to fully translate their equation into a strategic partnership.
He said that railway line up-gradation project between the two countries was one such step for not only speedy transportation of the cargo but would also open new vistas of opportunities for the people and would contribute towards economic development.
The president said that there was a need to urgently evaluate similar projects so that the next step that involves raising finances could be vigorously pursued.
In this context the president also suggested a currency swap agreement between the two countries to facilitate business, trade and commerce.
Farhatullah Babar said that the president also felicitated Turkish prime minister on the vote for a series of democratic measures in the recently held referendum.
He hailed the verdict on reform package as a triumph of democracy and democratic process and recalled recent democratic reform in the shape of 18th Constitutional Amendment in Pakistan.
VATICAN CITY: Turkey's top Roman Catholic bishop has publicly accused Turkish ultra-nationalists and religious radicals of being behind the slaying of the country's senior bishop.
Monsignor Ruggero Francheschini told a Vatican meeting that he was speaking out to correct the “intolerable slander” that had surrounded the slaying of Monsignor Luigi Padovese, the Vatican's apostolic vicar in Anatolia.
Padovese was stabbed to death by his driver outside his home in Iskenderun on June 3, a day before he was to leave for Cyprus to meet Pope Benedict XVI.
The slaying shocked the Turkish church and cast a cloud over Benedict's visit. It was the latest in a string of attacks in recent years on Christians in Turkey, where Christians make up less than 1 percent of the 70 million population.
Turkish officials have insisted the slaying was personal and not religious or politically motivated, and Benedict himself played down the motive at the time of the slaying, saying it was not a “political or religious assassination.” But Franceschini, head of Turkey's bishops' conference, told a meeting of bishops gathered to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East that Padovese was the victim of "premeditated murder" by the same forces that Padovese had denounced for killing a priest in 2006 and three Christians in 2007.
Francheschini said Padovese's killing was part of a “dark plot of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics, experts in schemes of tension.”
His comments appeared to be a reference to a series of ongoing cases against hundreds of secularists in Turkey whom prosecutors believe are behind several sensational attacks, including on religious minorities.
Prosecutors say the accused have been trying to create an environment of chaos that would force the military to overthrow the government.
Students fined over headscarves
16 October 2010, AJMAN — Some students of a girls’ school in Ajman were allegedly fined Dh1 each for not wearing headscarves.
Parents of the fined students said the school should have resorted to other measures to discipline their wards.
Though the management of Zat Al Nitaqain Elementary School for Girls was trying to get Islamic and ethical values ingrained in the minds of the students, there were other measures which could have been followed, the parents said.
The school’s vice-principal described the action as merely instructional. It was part of the school’s instructional and educational duty to correct any wrong attitude in students, and to educate them the proper way on the basis of Islamic teachings, she said.
Director of Ajman Educational Zone Ali Hassan justified the school’s insistence on headscarves, which was in good faith and intention. However, he said there were other ways to discipline the defaulters like asking them to do additional homework, sending them to special awareness workshops or explaining to them the usefulness of wearing headscarves. — firstname.lastname@example.org
KABUL: Commanding Gen. David Petraeus has confirmed that coalition forces have allowed Taliban representatives to travel to Kabul for peace discussions with the Afghan government, but a Taliban spokesman said all such talk is only propaganda, designed to lower the morale of the movement’s fighters.
US, Afghan and Taliban sources all declined to give details of the contacts, if they are taking place at all.
‘‘There have been several very senior Taliban leaders who have reached out to the Afghan government at the highest levels, and also in some cases have reached out to other countries involved in Afghanistan,’’ Petraeus told reporters Friday at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
‘‘These discussions can only be characterized as preliminary in nature,’’ Petraeus said. ‘‘They certainly would not rise to the level of being called negotiations.’’
In Afghanistan, Taliban leaders have told followers that there are no official peace talks with the US-backed Afghan government, an apparent move to persuade their rank-and-file to stay in the fight.
Pakistan will try for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council next year and hopes to get India's support for its bid, the country's top diplomat to the world body has said. "... next year we're trying for a Security Council seat (from the Asian region) and I believe that the Indians have said that they will support us there," Abdullah Hussain Haroon said.
He also wished India well for its two-year tenure as a non-permanent UNSC member, beginning from January 2011.
Pakistan had supported India in the recent election for non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
Haroon pointed out that Pakistan's support for India was rooted in the Asian Group's efforts to keep a united front.
"A year ago a couple of us met and said let's get the Asian Group working... all other groups had unanimous candidates...Asia always have a fight," the Pakistani envoy said.
"As far as the Asian Group is concerned this was an important act of faith... and we had to see it that way," he added.
On whether Pakistan would support India's bid for a permanent UNSC seat, Haroon gave a guarded response, saying "I think these things go one after another...let's see where the world takes us."
Three countries bidding for a permanent seat -- India, Brazil and Germany -- will be on the Council as non-permanent members for the next two years, and India is hoping that the change will come in the next two years when it will be already on the Council.
Pointing out that there were already two European nations in the Permanent Five of US, UK, Russia, China and France --and one more permanent seat may open up for Europe, Haroon said that Asia needs to vie for more permanent UNSC seats, instead of just the one spot that India is contending for.
"I am in favour of Asia getting more seats," he said.
India would share the table for one year with Pakistan if Islamabad is elected with a two-third majority in the General Assembly polls for non-permanent UNSC seats in October 2011.
India, which has been on the Council six times before, had earlier shared the table with Pakistan in 1968, 1977 and 1984.
Karzai's bro to be indicted for tax fraud?
WASHINGTON: Afghan president Hamid Karzai's eldest brother Mahmood could be soon indicted for tax evasion, the Washington Post said on Friday, citing a US official close to the investigation.
In a move that could further fray ties between Washington and Karzai over charges of corruption in the Kabul government, the Internal Revenue Service is examining Mahmood Karzai's finances. Late last month, a criminal probe had been launched, with prosecutors establishing whether to bring tax evasion , racketeering or extortion charges against him.
Mahmood Karzai, who used to live in the US, where he ran a restaurant, denied the charges to the Post from Kabul, saying: "I know myself . I'm very clean."
RIYADH: A wanted Saudi terror suspect has been brought back to the Kingdom with the help of Yemeni authorities after he expressed his desire to return to the Kingdom and surrender.
"Officials at the Prince Muhammad bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care received a call from the wanted man, Jabir bin Jobran bin Ali Al-Faifi, who was enrolled in the rehabilitation program after his return from Guantanamo Bay but later joined a foreign-based deviant group," said an Interior Ministry spokesman in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.
Al-Faifi figures in the list of 85 wanted terror suspects issued in February 2009.
In his call to Saudi officials before his surrender, the man spoke about Saudi citizens who were misled by those who support deviant ideologies, the spokesman said.
"They found themselves to be tools in the hands of the enemies of the homeland which is following the right path derived from the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his exemplary Companions. They are being used as tools to fuel sedition.
"They are not given any control over their deeds and put in situations that only serve the schemes of the enemies of the nation who seek to spread chaos and unrest legitimizing murders, rapes and stealing the money of civilians in neighborhoods they reside. The advocates of deviant thought has made them a means of propaganda and money-making," the statement said.
The statement added that Al-Faifi expressed remorse at his behavior. "Al-Faifi has shown a strong desire to return to the Kingdom and surrender to security agencies as the return to the right path is better than persisting in falsehood," the statement said.
The man was also allowed to meet with his family on arrival.
Expressing that its door of diplomacy is still open, the US has said that Iran now under strong international sanctions, faces a bleak future because of the stubbornness shown by its leaders with its unilateral nuclear programme.
"Last month he (Iranian President Ahmadinejad) made a trip to the United States and had some crazy things to say.
On , he made a trip to Lebanon and again had some crazy things to say.
He's now back in Tehran where his country faces an increasingly bleak future and is further isolated from the international community as our announcement today underscores," State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, said.
The State Department spokesman said the US believe that the latest round of sanctions imposed on Iran by the US Security Council is increasing.
"We are enforcing 1929 (UN resolution) country by country, and in the private sector, company by company are refusing to do business with Iran," he said.
KHARTOUM: Plans for referendums that could split Sudan in two are being hampered by delays, poor funding and a “negatively charged atmosphere” of threats and accusations, a UN panel said on Friday.
Sudan is less than three months away from the scheduled start of two votes — one on whether its south should declare independence and the other on whether the contested oil-rich area of Abyei should join the north or oil-producing south.
Both votes were promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war between north and south Sudan.
Relations between the former foes have remained deeply troubled and diplomats have warned there is a risk of a return to conflict if either plebiscite is delayed or disrupted.
Members of a high-level UN panel on Friday told journalists they were “very concerned” about a lack of progress in preparing for the votes with less than 90 days to go before the official start date of Jan. 9, 2011.
“On both sides (north and south) the atmosphere remains negatively charged. Threats and accusations are being made,” said former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, head of the panel UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set up to monitor the referendums.
Northern and southern officials have accused each other of building up troops either side of their ill-defined shared border in recent weeks.
Mkapa said the commission set up to run the southern independence vote was short of funds and did not have enough money to hire staff or pay for basic equipment and the transportation of election materials.
“Funding from both the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan is lagging. They must come forward with their share of the funds,” he told a press conference.
BRUSSELS: Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Friday that Taleban associates have been reaching out for talks about ending the war but that formal negotiations are not taking place.
Holbrooke spoke a day after a senior NATO official confirmed that the alliance has provided safe passage for Taleban leaders to travel to Kabul for face-to-face talks with the US-backed Afghan government. The account was the most detailed yet of the US and NATO role in the clandestine talks, aimed at bringing an end to the 9-year-old war in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government has previously acknowledged that it has been involved in reconciliation talks with Taleban with some NATO help. But discussions between the two sides have been described as mostly informal and indirect message exchanges relying on mediators.
The Taleban have denied there have been any contacts with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government, insisting that all foreign troops withdraw first.
NEW YORK: As the terror alert of an al-Qaida backed attack in Europe remains, the New York police carried out a drill to prepare America's financial hub against strikes on the lines of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The exercise was carried out in an area in the Bronx borough of New York, which was set up to resemble Manhattan's financial district near Wall Street. New York police department commissioner Raymond Kelly, who attended the drill, said "This is what we do. We think the unthinkable."
The drill simulated multiple bombs and shooters, including a bomb under a vehicle , and police responded with helicopters, dogs, automatic weapons and an armoured car, the news channel said. The NYPD has been considering ways to deal with a 26/11 styled attack since it occurred, said NYPD spokesperson Paul Brown, according to the New York Times.
In previous exercises, Browne pointed out that the NYPD had learnt even with 400 trained officials, its Emergency Service Unit may not be enough if there was a lengthy attack, which was spread out in different locations.
Iran says two Germans have admitted to breaking the law after they were arrested for interviewing the son of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.
Iran's public prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, said the two had confessed to working as reporters in the country without the proper visas.
Iran has not said what charges the pair may face.
Germany has said it is doing all it can to try to secure their release.
Mr Ejei said the Germans had entered the country on tourist visas, "in co-operation with hostile groups abroad".
"The two Germans have acknowledged their offence, saying that claiming to be journalists was not right," Mr Ejei said, according to the website of the state-run Press TV.
They travelled to the north-western city of Tabriz, where they interviewed the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani - the 43-year-old Iranian woman whose sentence to be stoned for adultery has sparked international condemnation.
That sentence was suspended in July this year, but last month, reports emerged that Iranian courts were instead considering hanging her for the murder of her husband.
Ms Ashtiani's lawyers insist she is innocent.
Also on Friday, Iran's minister of intelligence said two US men who had been imprisoned for more than a year were spies who should await their trial.
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were arrested in late July last year along Iran's border with Iraq where their families say they were hiking. Their companion, Sarah Shourd, was freed last month on humanitarian grounds and has returned to the US.
"The two American detainees accused of spying should wait to stand trial and for the legal verdict,"
Yemen's Interior Ministry is offering a reward 20 million Yemeni Riyal (almost US$100,000) for information leading to the capture of eight al Qaeda in Yemen suspects, Yemen's official news agency, SABA, reported late Friday.
SABA identified the eight and said they were "misled by senior al Qaeda members who are obsessed with death, destruction and disturbing the pubic security."
The public is urged to "cooperate with the authorities" and warned against sheltering any of them, the agency reported.
Al Qaeda is a growing problem in the Arabian Peninsula country. While most security experts and Yemeni government officials estimate the group's numbers in Yemen to be between 200 to 300 members, the government has stepped up its fight against it.
Since Tuesday, al Qaeda in Yemen (also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) is suspected of being behind three separate attacks that have killed at least 2 Yemeni security officials, according to a government official.
Col. Riyadh al-Khatabi, intelligence chief in the town of Seiyun in Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province, was shot and killed Tuesday. On Thursday, Abdullah al-Baham, security chief in the town of Mudiya in Abyan province, was also shot and killed.
Later that day, another attack happened as the governor of Abyan province, Ahmad al-Maisari, was on his way to the scene of the earlier attack to investigate. Gunmen opened fire on al-Maisari's convoy. A firefight ensued, and two of the governor's security guards were wounded.
In a midnight drama in Pakistan the Supreme Court convened on the night of Thursday, and on the next day accused the Zardari government of trying to sabotage the judiciary. Analysts fear that the executive and the judiciary are about to clash with the result that the Zardari government may be sent packing.
In response to the chief justice's remarks, the information minister and law minister of the government on Friday categorically stated in a press conference, in Islamabad, that they had no such intention and that there “was a conspiracy afoot to unseat the government.” Information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told newsmen that the government “was playing on the back foot,” while law minister Babar Awan warned that the “stage was being set for a change of govermment.”
The midnight drama started on Thursday night when judges of the Supreme Court convened an extraordinary session and continued its meeting into the small hours of Friday in response to rumours that the government was about to pull the plug on the judiciary. This would be done, it was said, with the notification being withdrawn under which Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his fellow judges were restored to their positions by the government after being dismissed by the Musharraf government.
This incident comes as fears grow of an all out confrontation between the judiciary, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and the executive led by President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.