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War on Terrorism - 2002-09-26

War on Terrorisn

NATO defense ministers held talks in Poland this week to discuss ways to refocus the alliance to combat threats from global terrorism. NATO Secretary General George Robertson opened the two-day informal meeting, calling for the alliance to play a pivotal role in the fight against terrorism. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presented NATO ministers with a proposal for a 20,000-strong alliance rapid reaction force.

In Indonesia, one man was killed in Jakarta in what appears to be a failed attempt to attack a U.S. embassy-owned building. Indonesian police officials say a hand grenade exploded prematurely.

In Pakistan, interior minister Moinuddin Haider said there is no conclusive evidence of al-Qaeda involvement in bloody attacks on Western targets earlier this year.

“So far, no clear cut linkage has been established. But certainly someone is financing all of this, the attack on churches, on U.S consulate and the French technicians bombing. Somebody is, and we are desperately trying to establish that linkage."

And in Afghanistan New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dined with the commander of U.S. forces in the war-shattered country. In a one-day visit to Afghanistan Mayor Bloomberg praised the efforts of U.S. troops.

“There's a lot of people over here who are defending those of us back in America. The least we can do is say thank you.”

In Washington, a Congressional committee heard more evidence of U.S. intelligence lapses before the September 11th attacks. The committee heard testimony from agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency regarding Khalid Al-Mindhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi. Both are linked to one of the men who bombed the USS Cole in 2000. However, information was never shared by the two agencies and Al-Mindhar and Al-Hazmi would later hijack the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Finally, the U.S. government is pursuing its case against six men arrested earlier this month in Buffalo, New York. For three days prosecutors described the six suspects as potentially dangerous al-Qaeda members who attended al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. However, the judge was not impressed by the prosecutors’ case saying he has not seen any evidence that they were preparing or planning acts of harm.