Afghan Fighter Designated
Terrorist, Has Assets Frozen
The United States yesterday froze U.S. assets held by former Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on the grounds that he has taken part in "terrorist acts" by al Qaeda and the Taliban.
"Because of his terrorist activity, the United States is designating Hekmatyar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under the authority of Executive Order 13224," State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said in a statement.
"The U.S. Government has information indicating that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by al Qaeda and the Taliban," he added. The designation means that financial institutions must block all of Hekmatyar's property in the United States, if he has any, and that it is illegal for anyone in the United States to give him money or perform any service for him.
Hekmatyar is a veteran of the Afghan guerrilla war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and the fighting between mujaheddin leaders after the Soviet withdrawal. His forces bombarded large parts of the center of Kabul, the capital, killing thousands.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan have in recent weeks been attacking forces loyal to Hekmatyar, who opposes the government of President Hamid Karzai.
Poultry Disease Spreads
To Another Farm in California
An infectious avian disease has spread to another commercial poultry farm in California despite health officials' killing of more than 2 million birds to control the outbreak, the Agriculture Department said.
Exotic Newcastle Disease, which is harmless to humans and does not affect the safety of poultry meat or eggs, has infected flocks in California, Nevada and Arizona. It is easily spread by vehicles and wild birds and is tough to eradicate because many birds die with no signs of infection.
California, the ninth-largest U.S. poultry producer, has been hardest hit by the disease. Thirteen commercial poultry farms in California have been infected, the USDA said. The disease was first discovered in October in Southern California.
About 1,700 state and federal officials are randomly stopping cars and going door-to-door looking for infected birds in the three states. The only way to eradicate the disease quickly in commercial poultry is to destroy infected flocks and impose a quarantine.
Indian Company Penalized,
Accused of Ties With Iraq
The United States has imposed economic sanctions on an Indian company and on a former resident of India for allegedly providing Iraq with material that could be useful in chemical and biological weapons programs, the State Department said.
Under a notice published in the Federal Register, the U.S. government has banned the importation into the United States of any goods produced by NEC Engineers Private Ltd. or by Hans Raj Shiv.
The U.S. government will not enter into any contract for the procurement of any goods or services from the sanctioned persons and their successors, it added.
The register said the company was originally based in India but is now also operating in the Middle East and Eurasia.
-- Compiled from reports by
the Associated Press and Reuters