Fri, Nov 15, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Ministry says it knows nothing of giving Karzai a lift

CNA , TAIPEI

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) declined to make any comment yesterday on a newspaper report that Taiwan had assisted in flying Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Japan for an international meeting early this year.

Speaking at a regular news conference, MOFA spokeswoman Katharine Chang (張小月) said the ministry was not aware of the reported event and thus didn't have any information to provide.

Instead, Chang reiterated the government's stance of supporting all anti-terrorism activities of the international community.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Chang said, the government has consistently maintained that all countries around the world should cooperate in fighting global terrorism.

Chang stressed that the Tai-wanese government and private sector's participation in the global anti-terrorism campaign mainly focuses on humanitarian aid and relief.

According to Chang, Taiwan has shipped food, blankets, tents and trucks to help Afghan refugees when the US attacked the now-defunct Taliban regime in Afghanistan in retaliation for its sheltering of Osama bin Laden -- the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, Chang said, Tai-wan has exchanged information with other countries regarding movements of suspected members of international terrorist groups.

A Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday that, at the request of the US, a passenger aircraft from Taiwanese air carrier China Airlines picked up Karzai and his aides Abu Dhabi during a regular commercial flight en route from Europe to Taipei in January.

"Requests to flyi Karzai had been rejected by the other air carriers for fear of becoming the target of reprisal by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group," the paper said.

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