BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 14:47 GMT
UN al-Qaeda report confounds experts
French patrol in Kabul
UN says more co-operation and information sharing needed

The claim in a UN experts' report about the existence of new al-Qaeda training camps in the Asadabad area, the capital of Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, has surprised some observers in the region.

It is a revelation for all those who thought al-Qaeda could no longer operate in Afghanistan or run training camps there, after suffering significant disruption to its infrastructure in the war-ravaged country.

A low-ranking former Taleban official remarked that Afghans do not need any new military training as they were already trained in warfare

The five experts who drafted the report must have their reasons, as well as evidence, for reporting the presence of such camps but no other government or organization has reported such findings until now.

An unnamed US official was quoted in a report by the Reuters news agency as saying that there was no evidence of any new camp in the area.

'Sympathy' for al-Qaeda

The UN experts, led by Michael Chandler, made their findings sound vague subsequently by reporting that the said training camps change locations.

The reports said the camps were simple but the Afghan coalition forces, which are led by the US, found them notoriously difficult to control.

President Hamid Karzai
Mr Karzai says only small groups remain
The camps were also reported to be attracting new recruits.

The report also argued that existence of such camps was due to the continued sympathy for al-Qaeda.

Kunar, along with Paktia, Paktika and Khost, is one of the four Pashtun-populated provinces where the US-led coalition forces have been operating aggressively for more than a year to hunt down remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taleban.

The largely western forces have come under increased attacks in these provinces in recent months.

Surprise

The US and its allies are also facing some resistance in Kandahar - former headquarters of the Taleban- and the adjoining provinces in south-western Afghanistan.

But the attackers until now have refrained from establishing camps or bases as they would become easy targets for US war planes and ground forces.

Osama bin Laden
Sympathy for Bin Laden's network remains
The anti-US fighters have mostly relied on hit-and-run attacks or fired long-range missiles, planted landmines and ambushed convoys.

Therefore, it was surprising to learn from the UN experts' report that al-Qaeda had activated new training camps in and around Asadabad.

It is also worth noting that the US soldiers are camped just outside Asadabad and have carried out house-to-house searches in a number of villages.

It appears highly unlikely that al-Qaeda training camps would continue to operate openly in Kunar or other provinces in the face of the relentless US-led military campaign.

Members of al-Qaeda and the Taleban as well as those loyal to former Afghan Premier Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, would prefer to remain mobile and therefore avoid offering visible targets to the US and its allies.

When asked about the existence of al-Qaeda training camps in Kunar, a low-ranking former Taleban official remarked that Afghans do not need any new military training as they were already trained in warfare.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

17 Dec 02 | South Asia
17 Dec 02 | Americas
16 Dec 02 | Americas
26 Nov 02 | South Asia
05 Nov 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes