- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 20, 2009


Taliban leader defiant in message

KABUL | The Taliban’s reclusive leader said in a Muslim holiday message Saturday that the U.S. and NATO should study Afghanistan’s long history of war, in a pointed reminder that foreign forces have had limited military success in the country.

The message from Mullah Omar comes less than a month before the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban for hosting al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

This year has been the deadliest of the conflict for U.S. and NATO troops, and political support at home for the war is declining.


Mumbai suspects to be charged

ISLAMABAD | A Pakistani court will indict seven suspects in the Mumbai attacks this week, but India needs to provide evidence against the head of a banned Islamist group that Pakistan is investigating in the plot, a top official said Saturday.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s statements appeared designed largely to assure India that Pakistan is serious about bringing justice to the perpetrators of the November siege that killed 166 people and ratcheted up tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

“I want to tell India that we want to be your friend,” Mr. Malik told reporters in Islamabad.

He also said that Pakistan was formally investigating Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, a founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba who now heads Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity banned by Pakistan after the U.N. declared it a front for Lashkar.

Mr. Malik said Pakistan has turned over a list of requests for additional evidence from India, especially forensic support and information about Saeed.


DNA confirms Noordin death

JAKARTA | DNA tests have confirmed that Southeast Asia terrorist leader Noordin Top was killed days ago in a shootout with Indonesian security forces, police said Saturday.

Police initially identified 41-year-old Noordin’s body by taking fingerprints after the gunbattle Thursday at a hideout in central Java. DNA tests have confirmed those findings, National Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said.

Police say Noordin, a Malaysian national, planned the 2002 and 2005 suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali and the July 17 attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.


Captured guerrilla sent to U.S.

BOGOTA | A captured leftist rebel who unwittingly helped officials rescue 15 hostages - including three American military contractors - was bundled aboard a plane to Florida on Saturday to face charges of terrorism in a U.S. federal court.

Prosecutors say that Nancy Conde Rubio, 37, led a finance and supply operation for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. She is also the former girlfriend of rebel Gerardo Aguilar, who helped keep watch over the hostages. Aguilar, alias “Cesar,” was extradited to the U.S. in July.

Colombian security agents monitored her phone calls in 2003, a few weeks after the Americans’ surveillance plane crashed in the southern Colombian jungle. That led to the stunning July 2008 rescue of 15 hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and the three Americans. Aguilar was captured in the action.

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