ASIA Afghanistan Called Top Opium Producer ROME -- Afghanistan has again established itself as the world's largest opium poppy producer, with growers taking advantage of a power vacuum during the U.S.-led war and the collapse of the Taliban, the U.N. drug control agency said yesterday.
This year's production follows a sharp decline in 2001, when the Taliban enforced a ban on poppy cultivation, the U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention said in a report released in Rome.
The agency, however, expressed support for an eradication program launched earlier this year by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and called on the international community to step up its support for the government campaign.
Total production of opium, the raw material of heroin, this year has been estimated at about 3,400 tons in Afghanistan -- compared with 185 tons in 2001, the result of the Taliban ban.
Associated Press India Calls Pakistan Terrorist State NEW DELHI -- India's prime minister called nuclear-armed rival Pakistan a terrorist state and vowed to destroy terrorism.
"Our neighbor is assuming the role of a terrorist state," Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said at a party rally a day after India began pulling back troops from the border following a 10-month military standoff with Pakistan.
"It makes a show of fighting terrorism around the world. But it does not hesitate to send fidayeen [suicide squads] into our country across the border to kill innocent women and children," he told supporters at the rally marking his coalition government's third year in power.
Pakistan rejected the statement, saying Indian leaders had been blinded by hostility toward their nuclear-armed neighbor.
ReutersTHE MIDDLE EAST Magazine Claims to Have Bin Laden's Will CAIRO -- A London-based Arabic magazine said it has obtained Osama bin Laden's will, in which he purportedly accuses fellow Muslim leaders of betraying him in the face of the U.S. campaign to destroy his al Qaeda movement.
The weekly magazine al-Majallah said the typed will was dated Dec. 14, 2001, and signed by bin Laden. At that time, U.S. forces were bombing the al Qaeda stronghold at Tora Bora, where bin Laden was believed to have fled after the collapse of the Taliban.
The article is to be published in the Saudi-owned magazine today.
In the purported will, bin Laden accuses Muslim leaders of betraying him and "the students of religion," meaning the Taliban, the magazine said. Bin Laden and Taliban leaders complained during the U.S.-led attack that other Muslims had ignored pleas to come to their aid.
"Despite the setback the new battle will lead to the elimination of America and the infidel West even if decades later," the will says.
Associated PressFOR THE RECORD A bomb planted by Irish Republican Army dissidents inside a van failed to detonate in downtown Belfast, raising the political stakes as Britain's new governor of Northern Ireland began his first day of work. . . . President Daniel arap Moi dissolved Kenya's parliament, beginning the countdown to general elections that will mark the end of his term in power. . . . Nepal's Maoist rebels fighting to topple the constitutional monarchy said they were ready for peace talks to end a deadly insurgency that has racked the Himalayan kingdom for six years.