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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Briefly

February 19, 2002

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Afghanistan: U.S. general to help Afghans establish national army

A U.S. general began a mission on Monday to help Afghanistan establish a national army with fighters loyal to the central government instead of the tribal leaders or local warlords.

The visit by Maj. Gen. Charles Campbell, chief of staff of the U.S. Central Command, is part of a plan to create a training program for the Afghan army, a military representative at the U.S. Embassy said.

U.S. soldiers are expected to arrive in about a month to begin training an Afghan force of about 600 men, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Afghan officers would go on to train future army units.

Since the fall of the Taliban, warlords have sought to extend their authority in several provinces. The cohesion of the government itself came into question last week when interim Prime Minister Hamid Karzai accused high-ranking officials within his own administration of assassinating the aviation and tourism minister.

Washington, D.C.: Red Cross critical of Better Business Bureau

The American Red Cross is feuding with a philanthropic advisory service that is seeking information about the charity's post-Sept. 11 fund raising.

The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance requested information last month from the Red Cross about the $850 million donated for its terrorist relief fund.

The alliance said it merely wanted to decide whether the Red Cross still met its standards for charities in light of news media reports and complaints from donors about the fund raising.

Harold Decker, interim president of the Red Cross, requested that the alliance restore a report on the Red Cross that was pulled because of questions about the charity.

On Saturday, alliance's president, H. Art Taylor, explained the request for information by saying, "We want to make sure that the public can be confident in what's going on at the Red Cross."

SAN DIEGO: Cheney says Americans reassured by comments

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday he believes most Americans are reassured by a president who describes Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil."

"The president's remarks caused a certain amount of hand-wringing in certain quarters, but most Americans find it reassuring to have a commander in chief who tells the truth and means exactly what he says," Cheney told about 2,500 Marines and their families at the start of his four-day swing through California.

The phrase, used during Bush's State of the Union address, raised concerns among U.S. allies that the United States might be rushing toward military confrontation with the three nations.

"As the president said, the United States will not permit terrorist organizations and their terrorist allies to threaten us with weapons of mass destruction," the vice president said.

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