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12/29/02 - PAKISTAN AND WAR ON TERROR - 2002-12-30


Police in Pakistan have arrested nine suspected members of the al-Qaida terrorist network. Jayed Ahmad [jah-yed ah-med] and his two sons, Umar Karar [oo-mahr kah-rahr] and Khyzer Ali [kye-zer ahl-ee], are accused of smuggling weapons intended for al-Qaida terrorist attacks. All three are U.S. citizens living in Pakistan. Also arrested were two of Ahmad's brothers, Ahmad's uncle, and three nephews.

That same day, five people were killed when a terrorist bomb factory blew up in Karachi. Among those killed was Asif Ramzi [ah-seef rahm-zee], wanted in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and last June’s bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi. Fourteen Pakistani citizens were killed in the attack on the consulate. The bomb factory was in a warehouse rented by a pharmaceutical company.

The government of Pakistan has been working closely with the U.S. and other nations to bring al-Qaida terrorists to justice. In June, Pakistani troops attacked an al-Qaida stronghold in Azam Warsak, in South Waziristan province, about thirty kilometers from the Afghan border. Forty al-Qaida terrorists fled after a two-hour gun battle. Two al-Qaida terrorists, identified as Chechen Islamic extremists, were found dead. Authorities arrested twenty Pakistani citizens for aiding the al-Qaida terrorists.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, Pakistan has cracked down on Islamic extremists, frozen terrorist-related assets, and worked with the U.S. to prevent al-Qaida terrorists from crossing Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. In December 2001, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced an initiative to curtail the influence of extremists over Pakistan's Islamic religious schools, or madrassas. At the same time, Pakistani authorities arrested more than two-thousand Islamic extremists, including leaders of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist groups.

Pakistan is playing an important role in defeating international terrorism. And as President George W. Bush said of the U.S. effort, "we will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and. . .defeat of the global terror network."

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