- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003


India to protect workers from Taliban

NEW DELHI — India will send crack commandos to protect Indian installations in Afghanistan, where two Indian road workers were kidnapped by Taliban militia a week ago, the daily Hindustan Times reported Thursday.

The newspaper said Indo-Tibetan Border Police units were being sent to the Indian consulate at Kandahar after India’s joint secretary for security in Afghanistan, B.C. Katoch, gave an assessment “on the grave security risks.”

The Indian workers were kidnapped in Zabul province after finishing a day’s work on the highway between Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar.

A spokesman for the ousted Taliban militia said they were likely to kill the two Indians “because they are not Muslims.”

Some 700 to 800 semiskilled Indian workers are currently in Afghanistan with private companies, as are a smattering of skilled professionals such as medical doctors and engineers, the paper said.


2 nuclear scientists taken into custody

ISLAMABAD — Two Pakistani nuclear scientists have been detained amid reports they were involved in transferring technology to Iran, opposition politicians and local news media said on Thursday.

Farooq Muhammad, director of Pakistan’s key uranium enrichment facility, Kahuta Research Laboratories, and a KRL lab director, Yasin Chohan, were arrested this month, the reports said.

The Urdu-language newspaper Jinnah reported that Caucasian men wearing bullet-proof jackets had arrested Mr. Farooq at his home in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. It said Mr. Chohan was also taken from his home.

A government spokesman refused to confirm whether the two men were in detention.

A Foreign Ministry statement said nuclear scientists routinely undergo “personnel dependability and debriefing programs.”

Weekly notes …

The military junta that rules Burma and the rebel Karen National Union have verbally agreed on a temporary cease-fire after five days of talks, KNU leader Gen. Bo Mya said Thursday. “The talks were held in good atmosphere. We understood each other well and we both have verbally agreed on a temporary cease-fire,” Gen. Bo Mya told Kyodo News. … Press freedom has regressed in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan since the October election of President Ilham Aliyev to succeed his ailing father, Reporters without Borders said at midweek. It voiced concern about Rauf Arifoglu, editor of the opposition daily Yeni Musavat, who was arrested after opposition protests of reputed ballot-rigging following the election. The editor began a hunger strike Dec. 1.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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