U.S. and Malaysian Officials: Interrogations Reveal al-Qaida Weapons Plan

U.S. and Malaysian security officials say the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan halted a fledgling al-Qaida program to make chemical and biological weapons.

They tell The Associated Press that a picture of Osama bin Laden's weapons plan is beginning to emerge, pieced together from interrogations with suspects captured in Southeast Asia.

Security officials have also been studying clues from the Afghan battlefield.

A suspect accused of masterminding the weapons project claims it was still only in "conceptual stages." The base of operations was said to be the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

Officials believe a former Malaysian army captain and U.S.-trained biochemist was in charge. He reported to an al-Qaida figure named Hambali, who's accused of heading the network's operations in Southeast Asia. Both have been arrested.

Among the details investigators have uncovered: the alleged sale of four tons of bomb-making ingredients in 2000, and traces of anthrax and ricin poison found at an alleged weapons site in Kandahar.

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