Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006



TALIBAN 'ENCOURAGE' OSAMA TO 'LEAVE OF HIS OWN FREE WILL'
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
Hollywood, Calif.

Printable version of this story

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 21, 2001 (1 a.m. PST) -- Defying American dem= ands to hand over the prime suspect in the terrorist attacks on New York an= d Washington, a three-day meeting of Afghanistan's ruling clerical council = expressed regret early Friday morning for the attacks and called on terrori= sm suspect Osama Bin Laden to "leave Afghanistan of his own free will" but = then declared that Islamic nations must join an international Islamic ji= had, or holy war, against the United States if it is attacked.

With that decision, relayed through the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan= at a bizarre, chaotic press conference in Pakistan, war is now virtually c= ertain and may come within weeks unless another suspect is identified in la= st week's destruction of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers and the Penta= gon. About a dozen mullahs, members of the Grand Islamic Council of Afghani= stan, joined their ambassador to neighboring Pakistan for the 40-minute pre= ss conference.

"We encourage Osama Bin Laden to leave of his own free will," aspokesman= for the council headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar said.

But probably knowing that the council's decision has not responded to = American demands that it surrender the suspect in the devastating Sept. 11 = attacks on New York and Washington, the clerics called for a holy war again= st America if, as expected, the country is attacked by the United States an= d its allies in "Infinite Justice," as the gathering coalition for America'= s war against terrorism is now formally known.

The press conference came six hours after President George W. Bush's t= ough, uncompromising stance, expressed in a speech to a joint session of Co= ngeress last night, that leaves the clerics no room to negotiate or discuss= U.S. demands. President Bush declared that the Taliban must hand over not= only Bin Laden and all of his operatives, but grant America access to his = training camps in Afghanistan.

"These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion," the preside= nt said. "The Taliban must act and act immediately. They

wi= ll hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate."

Bush's f= orceful, eloquent speech was greeted with waves of cheering and applause fr= om an audience that included British Prime Minister Tony Blair, many foreig= n ambassadors as well, survivors of the victims and heroic police and firem= en who assisted in the disaster.

Vice President Dick Cheney watched the speech from another location as= a security precaution. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. George Patak= i drew prolonged applause and cheers.

The decision made in Kabul was relayed to the press in Pakistan, where M= uslim fundamentalists are a powerful force opposed to the decision by Pakis= tan's president to provide intelligence and other tactical and strategic su= ppport to the U.S.-led coalition.

The Taliban ambassador made a veiled threat against Pakistan, too, say= ing that any nation that provided intelligence to the United States concern= ing Afghanistan would be "guilty of murder." But the harshest warning was = directed at the United States.

"If the United States attacks a Muslim nat= ion, and the Islamic nation is unable to defend itself, jihad becomes a rel= igious obligation of all Muslims," one cleric said, repeating the words of = Omar as translated by a spokesman.

Another said that "If the United States has evidence, they should prod= uce it, and the Taliban are ready to have a trial of Osama Bin Laden,"repea= ting a position that the Bush Administration has previously rejected.

The unusual press conference, which was conducted largely in Arabic for = the apparent benefit of the Arabic-speaking world, was called by the Taliba= n at the close of a conference in Kandahar where mullahs met to decide whet= her to turn over Bin Laden or ask him to leave.

During much of it, several clerics and reporters were all speaking at = the same time, producing a chaotic scene as one journalist demanded that th= e mullahs explain why they were resisting an Islamic council's edict agains= t Bin Laden and whether the Taliban would hand over Bin Laden if he was fou= nd guilty at their trial. The spokesman said they would not.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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