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[FLASHBACK] Bush Rejects Taliban Offer to Hand Bin Laden over

When issuing pronouncements, Osama bin Laden often sat in front of shelves of Islamic books to convey an intellectual image. PHOTO: The Daily Signal/Polaris/Newscom
  • Taliban demand evidence of Bin Laden’s guilt
  • Second week of airstrikes starts
  • Taliban urges US to halt bombing

14 October 2001

THE GUARDIAN — President George Bush rejected as “non-negotiable” an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.

Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban “turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over.” He added, “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty”. In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir — the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime — told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”.

The offer came a day after the Taliban’s supreme leader rebuffed Bush’s “second chance” for the Islamic militia to surrender Bin Laden to the US.

Mullah Mohammed Omar said there was no move to “hand anyone over”.

Taliban ‘ready to discuss’ Bin Laden handover if bombing halts

The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said today.

Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister, Haji Abdul Kabir, told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

“If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved” and the bombing campaign stopped, “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”, Mr Kabir added. […]

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