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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-310879 Afghan Omar Saddam (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/15/2003

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=AFGHANISTAN / OMAR / SADDAM (L ONLY)

NUMBER=2-310879

BYLINE=MICHAEL KITCHEN

DATELINE=KABUL

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Afghanistan is welcoming the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, even as it busies itself with the landmark task of adopting a new national constitution. As V-O-A's Michael Kitchen reports from Kabul, the Afghan government sees certain parallels between the cases of Saddam Hussein and the fugitive former Afghan leader Mullah Omar.

TEXT: Afghan transitional government spokesman, Javed Luddin, says the capture of Saddam Hussein would have a symbolic impact beyond the borders of Iraq.

/// LUDDIN ACT 1 ///

Saddam signified tyranny and oppression, and to that extent I am sure the fact that he is going to be brought to justice will send a very strong message across the world.

/// END ACT ///

But while Mr. Luddin believes the former Iraqi leader's capture by U-S troops Saturday marks a positive development for the world as a whole, he does not believe Iraq's situation necessarily mirrors that Afghanistan.

Afghan and U-S forces have long sought Mullah Omar, the head of the former hard line Taleban regime until it was ousted two-years ago.

Afghanistan's interim government says the Taleban violated human rights through their strict interpretation of Islamic law, which severely limited the rights of women, dealt out heavy punishments for minor offenses, and was generally oppressive.

Taleban and Mullah Omar loyalists are believed responsible for the current destabilizing insurgency - with frequent guerrilla attacks on Afghan targets, foreign relief workers and U-S troops operating inside the country.

While Mr. Luddin says Mullah Omar was not as big a tyrant as Saddam Hussein, he does say that the former leader will have to face justice - if caught.

He says the same is true for Mullah Omar's ally, Osama bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaida terror network blamed for attacks on the United States in 2001.

/// REST OPT ///

/// LUDDIN ACT 2 ///

People who have committed atrocities, grave violations of human rights and of the rights of the people - there will be no dealing with those people.

/// END ACT ///

On a related note, Mr. Luddin told reporters that he was disappointed the capture of Saddam Hussein had distracted world attention from Afghanistan's constitutional assembly.

/// LUDDIN ACT 3 ///

Up to midday (Sunday), we were kind of the top story around in all the networks. I was checking on the Internet.

/// END ACT ///

He joked that Afghans have often felt unfairly overshadowed by the Iraqis over the past year. (SIGNED)

NEB/HK/MK/JO/RAE



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