- The Washington Times - Monday, November 26, 2001

From combined dispatches
Al Qaeda fighters captured in Afghanistan will be treated as terrorists, while senior Taliban commanders could face trial as war criminals, a Northern Alliance official said yesterday.
"There is an amnesty for all Taliban soldiers those who have not committed crimes," Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister for the Northern Alliance, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" yesterday.
He said that amnesty would not apply, however, to either top Taliban commanders or to members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network, thousands of whom have fought alongside the Taliban.
Also yesterday:
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said there was enough anthrax sufficient to kill 100,000 people in a letter sent to his office.
Mr. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he expects Attorney General John Ashcroft to testify at hearings on White House plans to use military tribunals to try September 11 terrorism suspects.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, said suggestions that captured terrorists be held on the Pacific island of Guam were "innovative" and "clearly something we're going to have to look at."
On CBS yesterday, Mr. Abdullah said senior Taliban leaders especially Mullah Mohammed Omar "would be considered as war criminals" by the Northern Alliance.
"There is no amnesty for terrorists in Afghanistan," the Northern Alliance minister said. "Terrorists will be treated as terrorists, and they will be brought to justice."
Mr. Leahy, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he was concerned about plans for military tribunals and other anti-terrorism measures taken by the Bush administration, even though he himself had been a terrorist target.
"Somebody sent me an anthrax letter that could have killed over a hundred thousand people," the Vermont Democrat said. "We still haven't got the letter open. It is so powerful that they're having difficulty figuring out how best to open it and preserve the evidence."
The letter was discovered Nov. 16 in a batch of unopened mail sent to Capitol Hill and quarantined as the result of earlier anthrax attacks.
Asked whether he believed domestic or foreign terrorists were behind the anthrax attacks that have killed five persons, Mr. Leahy said, "I'll leave it to the FBI."
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said he will hold a preliminary hearing Wednesday about the Bush administration's plan to create secret military tribunals to try terrorism suspects, and expects Mr. Ashcroft to testify before the committee next week.
"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert asked Mr. Leahy, "Are you upset with the attorney general?"
"Yes, very much so," answered Mr. Leahy, explaining, "We went out of our way, the Congress, both House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike, went out of the way to put together in very rapid time an anti-terrorism package which the Justice Department said we need. Now, that was weeks ago, and of course they haven't used it.
"All of a sudden, we pick up the paper every morning, and here's, 'We're going to wiretap defense counsel, we're going to do these ad hoc, outside-the-justice-system methods.' It is bothering a great number of people, Republicans and Democrats. I think the attorney general owes the country, certainly owes the Congress, an explanation."
Mr. Leahy, who supported the anti-terrorism bill that passed the Senate by a 98-1 vote Oct. 25, helped lead a failed effort by Democrats to block Mr. Ashcroft's nomination as attorney general.
"I don't know why all this has to be done by fiat at the White House," Mr. Leahy said of the plan to use military tribunals to try foreign terrorists. He criticized Mr. Ashcroft for what he called the attorney general's "perfunctory" appearance to testify about the anti-terrorism bill before the judiciary committee, "where he shows up for an hour or so and wouldn't answer the questions of half the senators there."
On "Fox News Sunday" yesterday, Mr. Daschle responded to press reports that al Qaeda members captured in Afghanistan might be held on the U.S. territory of Guam, a 216-square-mile island in the Pacific.
"Well, I think that's an innovative suggestion," the Senate majority leader said. "I'm not sure anybody's thought through it enough to know for sure."
Guam, southernmost of the Mariana Islands on the eastern edge of the Philippine Sea, has a population of more than 150,000, including a large U.S. military presence. In the past, Guam's Anderson Air Force Base has housed thousands of Vietnamese and Kurdish refugees.
"I'd be concerned if I were some of the people living on Guam whether or not it's a great idea," Mr. Daschle said of the proposal to hold al Qaeda members there. "But clearly, that is something we're going to have to look at."


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