Wrapped in a dirty brown blanket, his arm in a blood-soaked sling, a deep hole gouged from his shoulder by shrapnel, Zabin says he's not one of Osama bin Laden's men. \nHis captors think otherwise. \nZabin, a Saudi Arabian, and other foreigners have been jailed since Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance. \nTheir home now is a basement prison in a military compound, a collection of filthy, rancid smelling subterranean rooms. \nThey lay on the floor, huddled beneath dirty woolen blankets, or on ratty steel bunk beds. They lay crowded seven and eight to a room. \nThey were from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia -- all warriors for the ousted Taliban regime that preached a strict brand of Islam, said Daulat Mir, deputy head of the jail. \n"When we first arrested them, we asked them, `Which group do you belong to?' They said `al-Qaeda,'" Mir said, referring to bin Laden's terrorist network. \nIn their sweep across Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance has captured more than 500 foreigners fighting alongside the Taliban, Mir said. \nThey include about 200 Pakistani militants arrested along the front in Kunduz Province, the last northern outpost under Taliban control. \nOthers were caught in Kabul, Herat and other cities abandoned by the Taliban after Mazar-i-Sharif fell Nov. 9, leading to the wholesale collapse of Taliban control over most of the country. \n"First we will interrogate them and then it will be up to the leadership to decide how to proceed," Mir said. \nAt the military jail, a flight of stairs leads down to a darkened foyer, where guard Mohammed Saqi fumbles with a handful of keys to unlock the large padlock on the gray steel door leading to the underground cells. \nBare light bulbs dangle from wires, illuminating a long, grime-streaked corridor lined with padlocked steel doors. Saqi opens a small window, through which several men can be seen beneath blankets. \nZabin, the Saudi Arabian, wears only a pair of baggy pants. The blanket is pulled back by guards to reveal the bloodied bandage and the gaping hole where he says shrapnel ripped into him while he was at the front north of Kabul. \nHe speaks Arabic and a little Dari, one of Afghanistan's languages. He says he's from Qasim in Saudi Arabia. \nZabin shakes his head when asked if he was affiliated with bin Laden, whose al-Qaeda network is blamed by Washington for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the US. \n"He is from Osama. We know that," says Mullah Mohammed, the prison security chief. \nGrimacing in pain, Zabin won't, or can't, say more. Prison officials say he has been seen by a doctor, who sent him back to the jail.
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters