- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 26, 2002

Al Qaeda seen eyeing Pakistan as safe harbor
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan Al Qaeda is trying to establish a safe haven in Pakistan, and the United States will deal with it when the time is right, the U.S. Army's second-in-command said yesterday.
Gen. John M. Keane said the United States and its coalition allies have denied Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network the use of Afghanistan as a base and have ousted the Taliban government supporting them.
"We have broken their will and they are trying to establish another safe haven now in Pakistan, and we will deal with that. When the time is right, we will deal with that one as well," Gen. Keane told members of the 101st Airborne Division based at the Kandahar airport.
Meanwhile, an advance Turkish force of communications and logistics experts has arrived in Afghanistan to take command of the 18-nation International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Britain.
A spokesman said 65 Turkish military personnel arrived Friday. It was the first deployment of Turkish headquarters staff members to Kabul.

Uzbekistan detains, frees opposition leader
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan Uzbek police held an opposition leader for much of yesterday, preventing him from chairing a party meeting that was called to urge the government to ease political restrictions.
Atanazar Oripov, the leader of the opposition Erk party, was seized from his home in the capital, Tashkent, by several people who said they were taking him to the Interior Ministry for a meeting with a high-ranking official.
Uzbekistan's government has been long criticized by international human rights groups and Western governments for the persecution of political and religious dissent.
Erk (Freedom) was the first independent political party to emerge in then-Soviet Uzbekistan during Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms in the late 1980s. The party led the campaign for Uzbekistan's independence from the Soviet Union.

Lesotho votes under new system
ROMA, Lesotho In a bid to move beyond a legacy of political unrest, voters in this southern African kingdom began lining up at daybreak yesterday to choose a parliament.
Outside stone schoolhouses and canvas tents, voters waited patiently to cast ballots in the first election with a mixed electoral system held on the African continent a system that will make it difficult for any one party to dominate parliament.
The reforms aim to make it easier for opposition parties to gain seats in parliament and avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the 1998 elections, when troops from South Africa and Botswana were called in by the government to quell an army mutiny and strikes that paralyzed Maseru.
There are 19 parties running in the election, and it is the party-list voting that makes it easier for opposition parties to gain seats, because they need only a certain percentage of votes to enter parliament. Under the previous system, only the party with the majority of votes in a district could win a seat.

Iran bans media from backing U.S. talks
TEHRAN Any support in the Iranian press for talks or negotiations with the United States is a criminal offense, Tehran's justice department said in a statement yesterday.
"All propagation and support for discussions and negotiations with the United States, in light of the law and the directives of the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], are criminal offenses," the statement said, quoted by state radio.
Iran's reformists and power-wielding conservative clerics have been engaged in a fierce debate this month over whether Iran has engaged in secret talks with its archenemy, the United States.
Statements by reformist officials and the press over the past few weeks have charged that secret talks between U.S. and Iranian officials have taken place since November 2001 in either Cyprus or Turkey.


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