A European Union delegation holding talks in Islamabad has decided to grant SFr29 million ($18) to Pakistan as the country anticipates an influx of refugees from Afghanistan in case of a US military attack.This content was published on September 26, 2001 - 08:02
The European delegation, which will visit five other Islamic countries to support the international alliance against terrorism following the September 11 attacks in the United States, said the fight against terrorism was not a fight against Islam.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the number of Afghan refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries could total more than 1.5 million.
Yousuf Hassan, a UNHCR spokesman, said nearly one million refugees could arrive in Pakistan, and tens of thousands of Afghans were already on the move inside the country.
Interpol issues warrant
The international police organisation Interpol has issued a worldwide arrest warrant for a man suspected to be the accomplice of Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
According to a statement, Interpol is looking for Aiman Al Zawahri, who is said to be the leader of the Al Jihad group and a key figure in bin Laden's Al-Quaida organisation.
Interpol's 179 members were asked to trace down the Egyptian-born Zawahri and, "if successful, notify the Cairo Interpol bureau as well as Interpol's headquarters in Lyon."
Meanwhile in France, three of the seven people arrested last week in connection with the attacks have been placed under investigation. According to a French newspaper the seven were part of a network linked to bin Laden.
New calls for a jihad or holy war
Bin Laden's organisation has also made fresh calls to fight a jihad, or holy war, by issuing a statement telling Washington that the organisation would be willing to fight a holy war.
"Wherever there are Americans and Jews, they will be targeted," said the statement, which was faxed to Pakistani news organisations in the name of Naseer Ahmed Mujahed, Al-Qaida's chief military commander.
"Wherever there are Muslims, they should prepare for jihad and by the grace of God, the victory will be Islam's," the statement added.
Meanwhile, Washington has ordered its biggest military mobilisation since the 1991 Gulf War and called for a global war on terrorism after the attacks that killed nearly 7,000 people.
Saudi Arabia severs ties
Saudi Arabia, which formerly recognised the ruling Taliban, has severed its ties with Afghanistan's regime, which is accused of harbouring bin Laden.
The Saudi authorities dropped their recognition of the Afghan leadership as they accuse the Taliban of providing a haven to terrorists, who carry out attacks that "defame Islam and defame Muslims' reputation in the world."
This leaves Pakistan as the only country that still recognises Afghanistan's hard-line regime, and despite withdrawing 12 of its diplomats from the Afghan capital Kabul, Pakistan said it would maintain its diplomatic relations with the Taliban.
UN resumes aid
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) decided to resume food shipments to Afghanistan, which were suspended after the September 11 attacks, due to the deteriorating security situation and lack of commercial transport.
"The United Nations World Food Programme today decided to resume food aid shipments on a trial basis to hundreds of thousand of hungry people in northern and western Afghanistan, the epicentre of the county's devastating food crises," WFP said in a statement.
The UN estimates that more than five million of Afghanistan's 26 million people were dependent on international aid to survive.
Meanwhile, intense fighting continues in northern Afghanistan, where an opposition alliance is fighting Taliban troops in order to take strategic areas north of Kabul.
swissinfo with agencies
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