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Pakistani Newspaper Predicts US attacks on Afghanistan likely to start Oct. 9

Pakistan's Frontier Post predicts US attacks on Afghanistan likely to start on Oct. 9. US to close Embassy in Pakistan on Oct. 8 for "Columbus Day". Rumsfeld due to make unannounced last minute visit to Pakistan as final step prior to beginning of hostilities.
Rumsfeld due tomorrow
Updated on 10/6/2001 10:58:12 AM

F.P. Report ISLAMABAD: Window for operation against Osama bin Laden and Taliban in Afghanistan narrow down to come within days after Rumsfeld the US Defence Secretary makes a trip to Pakistan on Sunday.

Sources in Pakistan government said that the visit of Rumsfled is likely to be unannounced but it will the final crucial step by the United States in its diplomatic offensive to fully align the Muslim countries with the plans of US and its allies.

Sources claimed that after Rumsfeld visit the final go ahead to attack on hideouts of Osama bin laden and his Al-Qaida networks will be given.

The final operation in different forms is likely to start on October 9, 2001.

Hectic diplomatic activity on the part of the USA and Britain in the last few days has also made it abundantly clear that come what may, Pakistan will play the lead role in the campaign against terror.

US Senate's approval to the bill of lifting sanctions imposed Pakistan and then Prime Minister Tony Blair's assurances to Pakistani leadership all lead to the conclusion that US and Britain now understand that replacing Taliban and eliminating Al-Qaida is an operation that cannot be completed without Pakistan's participation.

Prime Minister Blair's acceptance that Pakistan has a legitimate interest in how the next regime in Afghanistan may be established and that the next set-up in Afghanistan will be a broad-based government and all ethnic groups including Pashtuns will be represented also addresses some of the major concerns of Afghanistan.

Sources in Pakistan government said that Pakistan understands that die is cast for Taliban and Pakistan has to play a role in changing the Taliban leadership at least and lead the way to a broad based government.

The plan that is being finalized is multi pronged.

The first phase of the plan is already in place that is to pressurize Taliban diplomatically and isolate them.

The next phase will be to make targeted attacks on the Taliban and Al-Qaida military targets to soften them and push them away from Kabul.

At the next stage troops will land in Kabul and install the new government.

In between these phases work will continue to effect desertions in the Taliban commanders.

Some of the moderate Pashtun leaders like Nabi Mohammdi Nabi, Mulla Abdul Haq and Pir Syed Gillani have been mentioned in the last few days.

Sources said that US military action that may involve landing of at least twenty thousand troops will be short and swift and may not long for more than a month.

The US forces will like to finish their job quickly and replace Taliban government quickly.

US and Pakistani strategists are convinced that once Taliban are uprooted they can never make a come back as unlike the last time they wont be supported by Pakistani and Saudi governments.

- US Embassy to be closed on Oct 8

F.P. Report Islamabad: The United States Embassy and Consulates will be closed for all services, including visa service, on Monday in observance of the Columbus Day Holiday. This was officially announced by the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy here Friday.



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