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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 18:07 GMT
Pakistan arrests 18 for al-Qaeda 'links'
Osama bin Laden
Three of those arrested are believed to be relatives of Osama bin Laden
Zaffar Abbas

Pakistan's security agencies have arrested 18 foreign nationals, including three women, suspected of having links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement.

A report in a leading Sindhi language daily Kawish, on the basis of an official document, says all of them were arrested last week while crossing into Pakistan from the long and porous border with Afghanistan.

The newspaper report says a document prepared by the country's leading intelligence agency and presented to the President, Pervez Musharraf, two days ago details the profiles of those arrested.

The document itself does not link these people with al-Qaeda, but the newspaper report says intelligence officials are presently investigating their links with Bin Laden.

According to the report those arrested include at least three women, who are believed to be relatives of the terror suspect, Bin Laden, and their husbands are presently being interrogated by Pakistan's Military Intelligence.

Foreign origins

Of the 18 arrested people, four are of Macedonians or Albanian origin, two are Turkish, three are of Saudi origin and nine having Yemeni background.

A pro-Bin Laden demonstration in Pakistan
Pro-Bin Laden demonstrations have died down

Six of them were arrested from Mohmand Agency in the Northwest Frontier Province while others were taken into custody from different entry points in Balochistan.

Four main suspects are still in the custody of Military Intelligence, three in the custody of civil administration of Quetta, three women are in Quetta Jail and the remaining men in the Northwest Frontier province are being interrogated by a joint team of intelligence agencies.

Official sources say the government has still not decided how to deal with the arrested foreigners.

But the President is believed to have instructed the intelligence agencies to furnish complete details about their exact role in al-Qaeda, after which the concerned countries could be contacted for their possible extradition.

See also:

22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan aid delivery 'unsafe'
22 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan renewal 'will come from within'
21 Nov 01 | South Asia
Agencies call for Afghan peace force
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
Food aid heads for Kabul
20 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghanistan's huge rebuilding task
15 Nov 01 | South Asia
UN aid shipment reaches Afghanistan
04 Dec 01 | South Asia
Afghan talks approach final hurdle
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