Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Taliban was not only willing to hand over Bin Laden to the US

Documents suggest that in the years leading to 9/11, Taliban was not only willing to hand over Bin Laden to the US but also warned the latter of an impending terrorist attack

For example, an ISI official told visiting US Congressmen that “Pakistan will always support the Taliban”. This “policy cannot change”, he continued, because “it would prompt rebellion across the Northwest Frontier Provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and indeed on both sides of the Pashtun-dominated Pak-Afghan border.”

It is now common knowledge that the US had been asking the Taliban to hand over Laden since 1999. These discussions stopped only a week before the 9/11 attack. However, the US was so adamant on its stand that Laden be tried by the Department of Justice— and not in a third country as Taliban suggested— that Taliban refused to hand him over. Officials described it as a missed opportunity. The former CIA station chief Milt Bearden said, “We never heard what they were trying to say. We had no common language. Ours was, ‘Give up bin Laden.’ They were saying, ‘Do something to help us give him up’.” Bearden added, “I have no doubts Taliban wanted to get rid of him. He was a pain in the neck but this never clickedwith us”. The US thought it was “unreasonable” on Taliban’s part to ask for evidence indicting Laden. Taliban, on its part, even cautioned the US that Laden was planning a big attack on American soil. In fact, former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil maintained that his repeated warnings, delivered because of apprehensions that the US would respond by waging war against Afghanistan, had been dismissed. US officials admitted to this fact but said that warnings were dismissed because they were “hearing a lot of that kind of stuff”.

Declining the Taliban’s offer to have Laden handed over shows that the US rather followed the policy of regime change well before the 9/11 happened. India was considered to have joined Russia, the USA and Iran in a conjunct front against Taliban, which enclosed aid for Northern Alliance, including “information and logistic support” from Washington. Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik claimed that he had been informed by senior US officials as early as in July 2001 that military action would be taken against the Taliban by the middle of October. Readies had already been coordinated with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Naik also said that “it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban.”

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012.
An Initiative of IIPMMalay Chaudhuri
and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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