A mixed message has emerged on whether international terrorists, including members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, have operated in Central Sulawesi. Indonesia's intelligence chief, retired general Hendropriyono, claims they have, but police say there is no evidence. Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil, meanwhile, has pledged to 'wage war on terrorism'. 'We must take firm and forceful steps,' he said. Diplomats also have divergent views on whether the largely Muslim country, with its weakened Government and corrupt law and security system, could offer support to extremists. Several Jakarta-based Western diplomats say groups have taken money from al-Qaeda operatives seen entering Indonesia. The diplomats admit evidence of an international conspiracy is hard to find but have warned that Indonesia could become a target for US investigations and possible actions against bin Laden allies. However, a new US list of 45 countries suspected of providing bases for terrorism makes no mention of Indonesia. A large part of the confusion is probably due to conflicting political goals. Having Indonesia on a terrorist list damages foreign investment, but it could bring US funding and training and improve military ties. The bin Laden link in Central Sulawesi may also be an attempt to divert attention from the breakdown of peace there. Christian groups say an influx of members of the Laskar Jihad, an extremist Muslim group blamed for anti-Christian warfare in neighbouring Maluku, brought fighting back to Sulawesi in recent months, killing 15 in the past two weeks. Laskar Jihad insists it has no links to al-Qaeda. 'Poso, [central Sulawesi], has been utilised by international terrorist groups to establish their bases and training centres to support activities they plan from outside of the country,' General Hendropriyono said. Asked whether al-Qaeda was one of the international terrorist organisations, he said: 'Yes, that is what it means . . . it is among the groups that I mean.'