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Terror notes: Would-be assassin had been in prison

©Associated Press
September 15, 2002

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- The gunman who tried to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai Sept. 5 was a Taliban fighter who had been released from prison 2 1/2 months earlier, police said Saturday.

Abdul Rahman, 22, fought with the Taliban militia in northern Mazar-e-Sharif when it fell to northern alliance forces in November. He was captured by Gen. Rashid Dostum's troops, said Kandahar police Chief Mohammad Akram.

Dostum, who controls the prison in the northern town of Shibergan, has released hundreds of Taliban fighters in response to a plea for amnesty by Karzai.

The police chief said Rahman, who is from the southern Helmand province -- a pro-Taliban stronghold -- was released May 23.

Akram said Rahman traveled south, shaved off his beard and resurfaced as a security guard at the governor's palace two weeks before the Sept. 5 assassination attempt.

Rahman was shot dead by Karzai's U.S. Special Forces bodyguards who serve as the president's security detail. An Afghan bodyguard and a teenager who tried to disarm the gunman were also killed.

Suspects detained in plot against fast food outlets

KARACHI, Pakistan -- A Pakistani antiterrorism judge on Saturday ordered five Islamic militants suspected of planning terrorist attacks on American fast-food restaurants in Pakistan to remain in custody while police investigate.

The men were arrested Wednesday, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Police say they were targeting McDonald's and KFC outlets in Karachi and are members of a splinter group of the Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, or Movement of Holy Warriors.

Police now have one week to formally charge them.

Subway stations damaged in attacks reopening

NEW YORK -- Three subway stations that closed after the World Trade Center collapse damaged their tunnels last year were scheduled to reopen Sunday.

One is near the World Trade Center site, and the other two are just south of there on a line that ends at the harbor. Another station that was partially under the World Trade Center remains closed because of damage that has yet to be repaired.

The Rector Street and South Ferry stations for the No. 1 and No. 9 trains and the Cortlandt Street stop for the N and R lines were reopening for the first time since last year, the Metropolitan Transit Authority said.

The Cortlandt Street station for the No. 1 and No. 9 lines will remain closed until reconstruction plans for the World Trade Center site are finalized, said MTA spokesman Paul Fleuranges.

Press restrictions grow at Guantanamo Bay base

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- The U.S. government has tightened restrictions on media covering the 598 terrorism suspects being held at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Interviews with U.S. military personnel are being monitored by media escorts, who accompany journalists to most places on the base, including bathrooms and vending machines. The media also has been barred from speaking without authorization to civilians working on the base.

"During times of war, we give up certain rights," Lt. Col. Joe Hoey, the spokesman for the detention mission, said Friday.

Before a four-day media trip to cover Sept. 11 ceremonies on the remote U.S. base in eastern Cuba, American and foreign journalists were told they would be allowed to photograph services but were then barred from filming or taking pictures.

The military said media coverage would "interfere with the spirituality of events."

On Sept. 11, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service searched the room of an Italian film crew after "observing violations of ground rules," said Maj. Lee Reynolds, a military spokesman.

The Rome-based RAI crew was told it could not take pictures of the sea, about 500 yards from Camp Delta. Crews had earlier been allowed to shoot panoramic views.

The crew, which said it had no plans to transmit pictures of the sea or prison, said it gave the military two tapes.

Hoey said journalists have to be monitored to prevent military personnel from jeopardizing security and to ensure accuracy.

U.S. blocks Canada from meeting with suspect

TORONTO -- The State Department has denied Canada consular access to a Canadian teenager captured by U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, the Foreign Affairs office said Saturday.

Omar Khadr, 15, the son of an alleged al-Qaida financial leader, Ahmad Said al-Khadr, was captured July 27 near Khost, in eastern Afghanistan. He was caught after being badly wounded in a firefight in which an American soldier was killed and four others were wounded.

In its reply to the request for access, the State Department said if any "enemy combatant" claiming Canadian citizenship was to be transferred to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Canadian government would be told.

"We're staying in touch with the U.S. authorities to determine if and when the decision to transfer Mr. Khadr to Guantanamo Bay is made and we'll go from there," said Reynald Doiron, a Foreign Affairs spokesman.

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