Washington, DC - The U.S. government pressed the Taliban
to expel Usama bin Laden over 30 times between 1996, when the Taliban
took Kabul, and the summer of 2001, but the talks were always fruitless
and only three of the approaches took place in the first year of
the Bush administration, according to a newly declassified State
Department summary posted on the Web today.
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security
Archive at George Washington University, the previously SECRET NODIS
document updates the Archive's Web posting of "The
Taliban File," the seventh volume of the September 11th Sourcebook
series. The report was recently declassified, along with
five others, by the State Department in response to a Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 13, 2001.
The report indicates that:
- Following the August 1998 Embassy bombings, Mullah Omar, in
a telephone conversation with State Department officials, expressed
interest in a confidential dialogue with the U.S.
- As early as 1996, the U.S. warned the Taliban that harboring
bin Laden and allowing him and his supporters to transit Afghan
territory at will and to conduct uncontrolled activities greatly
hurt prospects for Afghanistan rejoining the world community.
- UBL had murdered Americans and continued to plan attacks against
Americans and others; The U.S. would hold the Taliban leadership
accountable for any of these attacks.
- The U.S. had knowledge, since 1997, of the location of militant
training camps in Afghanistan, and had planned, in accord with
the Taliban, to visit these camps.
- The Taliban, in order to halt American concern over bin Laden,
suggested, in October 1999, a trial by a panel of Islamic scholars
or monitoring of "UBL Afghanistan" by the Organization
of Islamic Conferences (OIC) or the United Nations (UN).
Click below to see the original posting on the Taliban
from September 11, 2003:
September 11th Sourcebooks Volume VII: The Taliban File