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Monday, 7 August, 2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Hunt for Osama continues
Bomb aftermath
The bombing altered the West's relationship with the Taleban
By Afghanistan analyst Pam O' Toole

When the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed two years ago, the US accused the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden, of being behind the blasts.

Since then it has exerted intense pressure on Afghanistan's Taleban movement- which is sheltering Osama - to hand him over to face justice.

The US Embassy bombings and the events which followed transformed the way in which the international community viewed the Taleban.

Washington first tried to persuade the movement to expel Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden remains at large
When persuasion failed, the Americans launched a military strike against his suspected bases in Afghanistan.

Many analysts argue that this policy has backfired. They believe it not only served to increase the prestige of Osama bin Laden and the Taleban among radical Islamic groups, but also hardened the movement's determination not to expel the Saudi dissident.

Defiant

The Taleban have certainly remained defiant. They continue to defend Osama, saying he was not involved in the African bombings.

They say he is being prevented from indulging in political or mililtary activities in Afghanistan.

But the Osama bin Laden issue, combined with increasing allegations that radical Islamic groups are being trained in Afghanistan, has helped to isolate the Taleban internationally.

They are still recognised as a government by only three countries and are struggling with the effects of UN sanctions imposed last November.

Washington is keeping up the pressure and now has a new ally in Russia, which suspects the Taleban of training Chechen separatists.

At one stage, Moscow threatened to bomb Afghanistan. It has now joined forces with the United States in a campaign to increase UN sanctions against the Taleban. As for Osama, he remains inside Afghanistan.

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See also:

26 Aug 98 | South Asia
Who is Osama bin Laden?
03 Aug 98 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
05 Nov 98 | Africa
US charges Saudi exile
07 Aug 00 | Africa
Kenyans mourn bomb victims
04 Aug 00 | Africa
Compensation deadline for Kenyans
10 Aug 98 | Africa
The story in pictures
16 Feb 99 | US strikes
Special report: US strikes
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