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U-S Envoy to Afghanistan Says Key al-Qaida Figures in Pakistan - 2002-10-31


U-S special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, says key al-Qaida and Taleban figures are hiding in Pakistan.

The envoy told reporters in New Delhi today (Wednesday) the United States expects the Pakistani government to cooperate in hunting them down.

He said Afghanistan is no longer the principal base of al-Qaida and the Taleban, and he said he thinks members of the groups are hiding near the Pakistani border and in Pakistan. Mr. Khalilzad said the U-S strategy in the region has entered what he called a "manhunt phase" to find the remnants of al-Qaida.

Meanwhile, Pakistani security agents say they have detained a close relative of a renegade Afghan warlord wanted by the United States. Police say former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's son-in-law -- Ghairat Baheer -- was taken from his house in Islamabad Tuesday.

Mr. Hekmatyar heads Afghanistan's Hezb-i-Islami faction and is suspected of teaming up with Taleban and al-Qaida remnants to launch a campaign to destabilize the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai. His current whereabouts are not known.

In recent months, Mr. Hekmatyar repeatedly called for jihad -- or holy war -- against U-S-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. He is also suspected of involvement in a series of bombing attacks in and around Kabul, including last month's car bomb blast that killed more than 25 people and wounded about 100 others.

Pakistani media reports say agents from the U-S Federal Bureau of Investigation took part in the operation. But Pakistani police refused to confirm or deny the reports.

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