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Pakistanis Say London Terror Planner In Afghanistan


http://gdb.rferl.org/6FF2FDCD-FB75-4C20-ABB1-B4C426FCFA4E_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/6FF2FDCD-FB75-4C20-ABB1-B4C426FCFA4E_mw800_mh600.jpg Police outside Heathrow Airport hours after the discovery of the London plot was announced (epa) August 18, 2006 -- Pakistani security officials claim to have evidence that an Arab Al-Qaeda operative who masterminded a recent terrorist plot in London is hiding in eastern Afghanistan.

The officials say investigators obtained the information from Rashid Rauf -- a man arrested in Pakistan who is regarded as a key suspect in the alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound passenger airliners in August.

The officials say they think the Al-Qaeda operative has been moving between Afghanistan's Nuristan and Konar provinces. They say they already have shared the information with U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Aa senior adviser to the Afghan government, Daud Muradiaan, dismissed Pakistan's claims as "diversionary." He says Afghanistan is "no longer a safe haven for Al-Qaeda."

Britain on August 10 arrested 24 people who were allegedly planned to blow up passenger jets flying from London to the United States.

Afghan and Pakistani officials have frequently exchanged barbs over security on or near their common border. Afghan officials charge that Islamabad has done too little to combat cross-border attacks in Afghanistan, while Pakistani officials have suggested that Afghan intelligence efforts are ineffective.

(AFP, AP)
Afghanistan And Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)

ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)


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