- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

General to free Pakistani prisoners
KABUL, Afghanistan A Northern Alliance general has agreed to free as many as 400 Pakistanis accused of fighting with the Taliban, a spokesman for the general said yesterday. The Red Cross said conditions were atrocious at the northern Afghan prison where the fighters have been held for five months.
Faizullah Zaki, a spokesman for Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, said that between 300 and 400 Pakistani prisoners would be released from Shibergan prison at the request of interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai as soon as arrangements for their transport home could be made.
Mr. Karzai spoke to Gen. Dostum, who controls the prison, after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf visited Afghanistan, the spokesman said.

EU mulls joint guard to protect its borders
BRUSSELS The European Commission has proposed that the European Union have a common border guard, paid for by all its member states, to help safeguard it from illegal immigration and terrorism.
The EU's internal security has become a major political issue since the September 11 attacks on the United States and after the recent success of European right-wing parties campaigning on an anti-immigration and anti-crime platform.

Haider takes heat for visit to Iraq
VIENNA, Austria Joerg Haider, Austria's flamboyant right-wing politician, faces new criticism amid revelations he spent the weekend in Baghdad posing with sick Iraqi children in his lap and speaking out against U.N. sanctions.
His spokesman, Karlheinz Petritz, said yesterday that Mr. Haider's visit to Iraq, his second within a few months, was personal a claim disputed by opposition leaders in Vienna and Klagenfurt, the capital of southern Carinthia province, where Mr. Haider is the governor.

Nepal claims victories ahead of Bush meeting
KATMANDU, Nepal Army helicopters killed more than 200 rebels in air strikes on guerrilla strongholds in western Nepal, government officials said yesterday, a day before Nepal's prime minister was to meet President Bush to discuss the communist insurgency.
The deaths raised the reported toll to more than 560 in four days of fighting in this Himalayan mountain kingdom which would be the deadliest violence since the rebels began their struggle to topple the constitutional monarchy six years ago.

Saudi authorities seize women's robes
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia Saudi authorities have confiscated 82,000 abayas, the black head-to-toe gowns worn by all Saudi women, for being too highly decorated or too revealing.
The Ministry of Commerce confiscated the gowns from stores and factories after inspections in the capital, Riyadh, and the Red Sea port city of Jidda. Inspectors took away garments found not in conformance with Islamic law, Al-Jazirah daily newspaper reported Sunday. The abayas were not plain and opaque, or else they were provocatively clinging, it said.
Strict Islamic laws in the conservative Muslim kingdom stipulate women must cover themselves completely in public.

U.S. boosts aid for refugees
The United States announced yesterday a contribution of $59 million to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to support the agency's operation in Afghanistan, Africa, the Balkans and elsewhere.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said it brought the total U.S. contribution to the commissioner's office this fiscal year to $184 million. It was part of the regular U.S. contribution to its operations, he said.


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