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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

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January 27, 2002

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WASHINGTON, D.C..: Afghan foreign minister seeks long-term assistance

U.S. and international forces should remain in Afghanistan beyond the six-month life of the interim government and until all al-Qaida and Taliban resistance are gone, the foreign minister said ahead of Prime Minister Hamid Karzai's first meeting with President Bush.

The close U.S. assistance is needed to secure the country, Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Enemies of the interim government, he said, including "some who have lost power" in Afghanistan and groups in the region, might try to use Karzai's close alliance with the United States to cause trouble in a country long hostile to outside meddling.

"But it will not work," Abdullah said, asserting that most Afghans are grateful to the United States for helping oust the Taliban.

Washington, D.C.: Powell, White House at odds over detainees' legal status

The Bush administration is locked in an internal dispute over the legal status of al-Qaida and Taliban detainees being held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, senior U.S. officials said Saturday.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged President Bush to declare that the 158 captives at Guantanamo Bay are covered by the 1949 Geneva Convention, which governs how prisoners of war are to be treated, a senior State Department official said.

To date, the Bush administration has treated the captives as "unlawful combatants" who do not qualify for the convention's protection.

The dispute is over international law, not prisoners' treatment.

Powell does not believe the detainees qualify as prisoners of war, the State Department official said. But he argues that declaring they are covered by the Geneva Convention would bolster international support for U.S. action in Bush's war on terrorism and protect Americans held overseas.

NEW YORK: Former mayor says country failed to heed warnings

Just as it failed to heed the warning signs of Adolf Hitler's aggression in the 1930s, the United States did not do enough to prepare for terrorist attacks in the 1990s, Rudolph Giuliani told his former colleagues Saturday.

"This is going to stand as a reminder to us to never let our guard down again," Giuliani said of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He delivered a morning speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which for the first time split its annual meeting between Washington and New York.

WASHINGTON: Anti-missile rocket test a success, Pentagon says

The first test of an anti-missile rocket fired from a Navy ship into space to knock down a dummy warhead was a success, the Pentagon says.

An interceptor rocket launched from the USS Lake Erie slammed into a dummy warhead fired Friday night from off Hawaii, Defense Department spokesman Maj. Mike Halbig said. The collision took place more than 300 miles northwest of Hawaii, Halbig said.

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