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Military

Updated: 27-Jul-2004
 

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

27 July 2004

SHAPE
  • NATO military HQ targeted by terror threat

AFGHANISTAN

  • Al-Qaeda bankrolls Afghan attacks

BALKANS

  • NATO, UN accused of failing Kosovo minorities

SHAPE

  • AFP, July 26, reported an official as saying that security was stepped up at NATO’s military command headquarters in Europe over the weekend after an Interpol report of a threatened terrorist attack. Checks were tightened on all vehicles and people entering and leaving the SHAPE base near Mons after the warning last Friday, added the dispatch. The origin of the alarm, argued the news agency, came from an Interpol tip-off from Trieste, Italy, saying that four terrorists were planning to attack the headquarters. The official reportedly stated that the state of alert was downgraded on Monday. La Province, on the same subject, writes that according to what a man - who claimed to be an Interpol agent - declared to the Italian police, four Islamists were allegedly planning to attack SHAPE using explosives on Saturday 24 July. The threat, the daily observes, has been taken very seriously by the Belgian federal police. The man, unknown to Interpol, also allegedly said terrorists wanted to enter SHAPE through a secondary gate. Security measures, concludes the article, were then increased but the four “expected” terrorists did not show up.

AFGHANISTAN

  • According to The Daily Telegraph, commanders of the ousted Taliban regime are said to have millions of pounds, donated by Al-Qaeda and other Islamic militants, to fund raids by gunmen based in Pakistan. The money, comments the paper, comes not only from Bin Laden’s network, but extremist Islamic groups in Pakistan that have long backed the Taliban, and from the opium trade. The arrest of several former leaders along with many of their relatives and aides, speculates the daily, has given American and Afghan intelligence officials a crucial insight into Taliban operations. In an interview with the newspaper, the Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, reportedly said: “The more we cooperate with our neighbor, brother and friend Pakistan, the more we will succeed. I am glad that Pakistan has begun a series of operations to capture members of Al-Qaeda from its tribal territories.” Taliban rebels, concludes the article, are also targeting UN voter registration teams and aid workers to try to drive them from the country.

BALKANS

  • USA Today writes that a leading human rights organization blamed NATO and UN police Monday for failing “catastrophically” to protect minorities in Kosovo during ethnic violence earlier this year. Among other charges, the New York-based organization accused NATO-led peacekeepers of locking their gates and standing by as ethnic Albanians burned Serb houses just outside their bases during the mid-March riots. The group wrote a 66-page report entitled “Failure to Protect: Anti-Minority Violence in Kosovo, March 2004.” The report, adds the paper, also accused the international community in Kosovo of being in “absolute denial about its own failures.” Rachel Denber, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Division, reportedly said in a statement: “This was the biggest security test for NATO and the United Nations in Kosovo since 1999, when minorities were forced from their homes as the international community looked on…but they failed the test…in too many cases, NATO peacekeepers locked the gates to their bases, and watched as Serb homes burned.” According to the report, continues the article, in at least four instances the peacekeepers were confined in their bases, without crowd-control equipment, as crowds of ethnic Albanians walked past them and set houses, churches and monasteries ablaze. Col. Pieper, a NATO spokesman in Kosovo, was quoted saying the report does not do justice to peacekeepers’ attempts to normalize the situation: “These reports coming from (an) armchair position do not pay any respect to the efforts of the soldiers,” adding that the peacekeepers “quickly stabilized the situation within hours during the riots and prevented…civil war.” He also reportedly said: “The soldiers…did their utmost to de-escalate the situation and to save many lives.” The article also reports NATO-led peacekeepers stating they chose to save people’s lives instead of buildings and over 1,200 of those fleeing the rampage found temporary refuge inside their military bases.

 



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