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Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

Briefly

February 22, 2004

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Pakistan

Security stepped up in tribal regions

Pakistan has stepped up security along the Afghan border ahead of new operations against al-Qaida and Taliban in the tribal belt where Osama bin Laden may be hiding, Pakistani military and intelligence sources said early today.

The operation will be the fourth of its kind since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press. It would center on suspected Taliban and al-Qaida men who Pakistan believes have married Pakistani women and are living in the tribal areas -- the remote and historically autonomous regions that have never really been brought under the control of Pakistan's central government.

Afghanistan

3 nations offer funds to organize elections

Three nations have agreed to pay more than $22 million to help the effort to organize elections in Afghanistan scheduled for June, a U.N. official said Saturday.

U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said the offer was made at a meeting of diplomats in Kabul this week to discuss preparations. He would not identify the countries.

With the polls just four months away, the United Nations faces the massive task of registering an estimated 10.5 million eligible voters, which will cost $98 million.

Before this week's offer, there was still a funding shortfall of $50 million. The latest pledges would cut the amount needed nearly in half.

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