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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 11:16 GMT
Taleban deny Bin Laden re-think
Osama bin Laden
Bin Laden: Still on America's most wanted list
The Taleban authorities in Afghanistan have denied a report that they would consider exiling Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.

Their comments follow a report in the British newspaper, The Times, which said the Taleban had changed its policy.

The Times quoted Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil as saying such a move would be contemplated in return for assurances that the Taleban would be recognised as Afghanistan's legitimate government.

The Taleban said Mr Mutawakil never made the statement.

Afghan guest

The Taleban have said Mr bin Laden is a guest in the country and it would not be Islamic to hand him over.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions against the Taleban in an effort to force his surrender.

Mr bin Laden is wanted in the United States on charges of related to the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Four men went on trial on Monday in New York, accused of conspiring with Mr bin Laden to carry out the bombings.

Missile strikes

Defence lawyers have said that their clients were on trial simply because of their association with Mr bin Laden.

The twin blasts in 1998 killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands of others.

It sparked retaliatory US missile strikes on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan.

All four defendants, two of whom face the death penalty if convicted, have entered not guilty pleas.

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See also:

20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Who is Osama bin Laden?
03 Nov 00 | South Asia
US Bin Laden demand rejected
06 Feb 01 | Americas
Embassy bombing trial 'unfair'
17 May 00 | Americas
Clinton accuses bin Laden
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