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Fighting terror notebook

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 20, 2002

Two named to look into minister's death

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Afghan government appointed two Cabinet members Tuesday to investigate the killing of the aviation minister -- a death Prime Minister Hamid Karzai has blamed on senior members of his administration.

Rahman was killed at the Kabul airport last week. Witnesses said he was beaten to death by Islamic pilgrims enraged that their flights to Saudi Arabia had been delayed. Karzai blamed the killing on a feud among members of his own government.

Karzai named Mir Wais Sadeq, the minister of labor and social affairs, and Abdul Khaliq Fazal, the minister of public works, to investigate the killing, Sadeq said Tuesday.

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BRITISH PEACEKEEPERS SENT HOME: Two British paratroopers who allegedly opened fire at a car that Afghans said was carrying a pregnant woman to the hospital, killing her brother-in-law, were sent home Tuesday.

An official said that two of the peacekeepers returned to Britain amid accusations that the shooting was unprovoked.

The pre-dawn shooting last week has angered Afghans in Kabul, who say the soldiers fired 60 bullets at a car that violated a nighttime curfew as it started its engine to take a pregnant woman to a hospital. The peacekeepers have said they were fired on first.

MECCA AIRLIFT GETS HELP: Britain, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in a massive airlift of Afghan pilgrims eager to perform the hajj, the annual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

U.N. RAISES REFUGEE CONCERNS: The United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday that it was concerned about the rising number of Afghans who are fleeing the country. Some 15,000 people have fled to Chaman, Pakistan, in the past 10 days, it said.

Many of the refugees are from the Pashtun ethnic group, which made up the Taliban's power base, and are leaving Afghanistan because they face robbery and intimidation.

TURKISH POLICE DETAIN THREE: Police in eastern Turkey have detained two Palestinians and a Jordanian suspected of links with the al-Qaida terror network and believed to be on their way to Israel to stage a bomb attack.

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