Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004


April 1, 2004



More U.S. troops arrive to quell opposition

The first of 2,000 U.S. Marines have arrived in Afghanistan to intensify the hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents, the American military said Wednesday.

The deployment signals new resolve to crush militants, and hopefully capture fugitive leaders including Osama bin Laden, in an election year for both the Afghan and U.S. governments.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the Marines would be sent to one region of the country where existing bases were being expanded to accommodate them. He declined to say which area, or how long they would stay.


Donors pledge billions to rebuild Afghanistan

Donors at an international conference pledged $8.2 billion in the next three years to help rebuild Afghanistan and smooth its transition to post-Taliban democracy, the Afghan finance minister said Wednesday.

Ashraf Ghani said he was "delighted" with the pledges, made after Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed to officials from more than 50 countries to help his war-ravaged country support itself and confront the threat from private militias.

For the next year alone, donors pledged $4.4 billion, Ghani said, adding that priorities will include rebuilding roads and irrigation systems.

Karzai's plans for the next seven years called for a total of $28 billion in aid. Ghani said donors met Afghanistan's target for this year and covered more than two-thirds of its expectations in the next three years.

The United States, European nations, Japan and Canada were among rich countries that reaffirmed their support.


Militant ends standoff by killing himself

A lone militant who was holed up in a house blew himself up early today, ending a standoff in the Uzbek capital.

The incident appeared at first to mark a fourth straight day of violence in the Central Asian country, where police and Islamic militants had allegedly engaged in battles and bombings that had taken at least 42 lives.

But Oleg Bichenov, Tashkent city police anti-terrorism deputy chief, said early today there were no hostages and that a lone man -- barricaded in a house and surrounded by police -- had detonated explosives, killing himself.

The Interfax news agency had reported the standoff began with an unknown number of casualties in the grenade explosion in the Sabir-Rakhimovski district of Tashkent, a half mile from the Chorsu bazaar where suicide bombers struck Monday. Russia's Channel One television said three people were wounded, and ITAR-Tass said one police officer was lightly injured.


Troops fail to capture war crimes suspect

Gunfire resounded early today as NATO troops surrounded a building in Pale, the city where top war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic had taken refuge. But their quarry eluded them.

Two helicopters landed in front of the building. Soldiers carried two people out on stretchers, and the choppers flew off.

"We did not locate the person we were looking for," said Capt. Dave Sullivan of Canada, a spokesman for Bosnia's NATO-led peacekeepers.

While he did not name the suspect, there were indications that the raid was an attempt to apprehend Karadzic, who has made Pale his headquarters.

Karadzic, the leader of Bosnia's Serbs during the republic's ethnic war, has been indicted by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, on suspicion of war crimes.

Sullivan refused any more detail on the operation, saying only that it involved American, British and other international troops.

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