Wednesday, November 7, 2001

PESHAWAR, Pakistan The Taliban and its allies in the al Qaeda terror network are developing ever-more ingenious methods of eluding American bombs, including the redeployment of forces to ancient archaeological sites, mosques and even relief organization offices.
The shift to locations barred from target lists is described by American military as signaling the Kabul regime’s disregard for civilian life and international laws of warfare.
Other so-far-unverified claims suggest that some Taliban commanders have shifted their headquarters close to hospitals or civilian housing areas. Vehicles stolen from aid agencies have been used to move troops and ammunition.
But there are strong indications that the Americans are developing more sophisticated tactics after 31 days of bombing. On Monday, aircraft struck the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. Taliban officials were meeting in the hotel at the time of the attack, said Afghan sources.
As with an attack against a building in Kabul used by Taliban supporters from Kashmir, which killed 22 gunmen, there were suggestions that the American strike was the result of improving intelligence from agents inside Taliban areas.
Witnesses in Kabul and the central city of Ghazni confirmed that Arab and Taliban fighters are choosing their hiding places far more carefully than before.
Taliban fighters have squirreled themselves away in the offices of the Red Cross and CARE International in Kabul. When they captured the city in 1996, they secured it in a matter of days by whisking thousands of soldiers into the backs of small pickup trucks.
Today, these same vehicles are being used to rush anti-aircraft guns and multiple rocket launchers around Kabul in a game of shoot-and-run with bombers overhead.
Fighters have abandoned military installations and have begun digging deeper into the sides of hills and mountains. Preparations for an guerrilla war in Kabul are under way.
Zealous young recruits, many from Pakistan, have been handed pickaxes and shovels. By day, they gouge out new dugouts to serve as machine-gun posts well inside the existing front lines north of the city. Evidence is also emerging that bin Laden’s men are working on chemical weapons to repel a land assault.
A Filipino checking into a Kabul hotel a few days ago said: “My Muslim brothers are in dire need of my services in microbiology.”
Asked by an Afghan reporter what he was doing in a war zone, the Filipino added: “Have you ever heard of anthrax? That is the kind of thing I’m pretty good at making.”
He said he belonged to Filipino terrorist group Abbu Sayyaf and had arrived with a voucher signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s right-hand man.

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