Russian memo lists Bin Laden camps in Afghanistan : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday September 26 7:34 AM ET

Russian Memo Lists Bin Laden Camps in Afghanistan

By Tom Heneghan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden had at least 55 bases or offices in Afghanistan earlier this year with over 13,000 men, ranging from Arabs and Pakistanis to Chechens and Filipinos, according to Russian information.

A Russian memo to the United Nations, obtained by Reuters Wednesday, reported that in addition to bin Laden's own men, about 3,500 fundamentalist Pakistanis were in the country as well as Pakistani soldiers and diplomats it said were working as advisers to the hard-line Taliban movement.

The memo to the U.N. Security Council, dated March 9, 2001, said most of bin Laden's facilities were in or around the main cities of Kabul, southern Kandahar, eastern Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sherif in the north.

Most were at former Afghan Army bases, on large former state farms and in caves in rugged mountain regions. About 150 men are based in Bagh-i-Bala, the hilltop restaurant that was once Kabul's most fashionable dining spot.

It was not clear whether these facilities, part of bin Laden's al-Qaeda (''the base'') network, were all still in use at the time of or after the September 11 suicide flights into the World Trade Tower and the Pentagon in the United States.

Washington has named bin Laden as the prime suspect in those attacks and vowed to capture him ``dead or alive'' and punish the Taliban for harboring him. The Taliban say they have already taken emergency measures to defend themselves against any U.S. air attack.

A cover note from Moscow's U.N. delegation said the memo responded to a 1999 Security Council appeal for information ``on bases and training camps of international terrorists in Afghanistan'' and on foreign advisers to the Taliban.

Pakistani military spokesmen were not immediately available to comment on the list, which named 31 Pakistanis -- from generals to diplomats -- it said were working as advisers in Afghanistan. Pakistan, the only country in the world that still recognizes the Taliban government, has long been accused of supporting and arming the movement, but it officially denies any involvement.


The memo, obtained from the Philippines Defense Ministry after being cabled there from Manila's mission to the U.N. in New York, says the focus of bin Laden's forces is at the former Afghan Army Seventh Division base at Rishkhor, south of Kabul.

Run by bin Laden's deputy Qari Saifullah Ahtar, it has 7,000 fighters, including 150 Arabs and some Pakistani fundamentalists, as well as a Pakistani army regiment, the memo said. A nearby camp has instructors from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, it said. Further south in Charasyab, at a former base for the anti-Soviet mujahideen, troops included 50 Filipinos and 40 Uighurs from the mainly Muslim Xinjiang region in western China.

The memo from Russia, which is fighting Muslim separatists in Chechnya, reported that at least 2,560 Chechens were serving or training with the bin Laden organization. An unknown number of Czechs and Bulgarians were reported to be active at a well-defended base in Logar province south of Kabul.

Kandahar, the southern city that is spiritual center for the puritanical Taliban, was mentioned six times in the report, but without any major military installations. In the eastern region around Jalalabad, bin Laden units were based in the city, in two large Soviet-built state farms nearby and at former army posts close to the Pakistani frontier.


Of the 19 camps said to be run by Pakistani fundamentalists, the memo named three militant groups active near Kabul. It did not identify who ran the other camps. Several Pakistani groups have mobilised students at religious schools to go and fight in Afghanistan.

The memo said six Pakistanis had senior posts in the Taliban military and identified a former royal palace in southwestern Kabul as ``headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the Pakistani forces in Afghanistan.'' It said a Pakistani AWACS reconnaissance plane, of the type originally provided by the United States to monitor Soviet and Afghan air activity during the 1980s war, was based at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan to survey the borders with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The memo did not reveal the source of the information. Moscow had close ties with Afghanistan's Khad intelligence service during the 1979-1989 Soviet War and trained thousands of Afghan leftists at universities in the Soviet Union during that time.

-- Swissrose (, September 26, 2001


"Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden had at least 55 bases or offices in Afghanistan earlier this year with over 13,000 men, ranging from Arabs and Pakistanis to Chechens and Filipinos, according to Russian information." FIND THOSE 13,000 AND ASSASINATE THEM!!!!

-- Steve McClendon (, September 26, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ