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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Taleban leader protests Bin Laden's innocence
Unknown man reading Taleban leader's statement
Copies of the statement are posted in Islamabad
The Taleban's council of clerics has been meeting in Kabul on Wednesday to consider the fate of Saudi-born dissident Osama Bin Laden. Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar made the following statement to members of the council, or ulema:

As a result of our jihad, the Afghans have been able to establish a genuine Islamic order.

This order has greatly annoyed the enemies of religion and of the country and therefore they are striving to destroy it under various pretexts.

One of these pretexts is the presence of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.


We assure the whole world that Osama Bin Laden has taken no action from Afghan soil against anybody.

America's allegations that Osama Bin Laden is responsible for the incidents in Washington and New York and the lack of any evidence which has been submitted gives rise to questions: Where did he train the pilots, which airport did he use and whose aircraft did they use?

The answer is that what happened in America is an excuse - Afghanistan has no resources, nor is Osama so powerful, nor does he have contacts with the outside world and nor do we allow him to use Afghan soil against other countries.

We have lots of difficulties in our country as it is, and we have never tried to create problems with America.

Talks sought

We have held repeated talks with the previous and present American governments and want to hold talks even now.

We have told them that we have no problems with them and do not want to have any.

You have lots of small and powerful enemies. You must not use Afghanistan as a scapegoat after every incident and because of failures of your security systems and must not blame the weakness of your intelligence on the Afghans.


America answers all our arguments and words very carelessly and arrogantly.

We have informed them also that we have severed all Osama's communication links and he cannot have contact with the outside world.

We have told America that we deny Osama's involvement in the latest incidents in America.

But, unfortunately, America answers all our arguments and words very carelessly and arrogantly.

They permanently warn us, accuse us of various alleged wrongdoings, interfere in our internal affairs and, finally, threaten us with war and military operations.

However, we repeatedly put forwards proposals concerning ways of solving Osama Bin Laden's issue.

We have told America that if it has any evidence of Osama Bin Laden's guilt, it should be given to the Supreme Court of Afghanistan, so that we can take action in the light of it.

America has rejected all this.


If America uses force and attacks Afghanistan, our innocent and suppressed people will suffer for nothing.

We have proposed to America to let representatives of the Organization of Islamic Conference come to Afghanistan to assess Osama Bin-Laden's activities for its satisfaction.

But this has been rejected by America also.

If they had considered this and taken some steps, there would have been no room for so much mistrust.

Wrong information

We again deny that Osama Bin Laden had a hand in the incidents in the USA and we call upon the USA to contemplate this issue and search for correct information.

If the American Government has some problems with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan they should be solved through negotiations.

Efforts should be made for finding the truth about the incidents.

We assure the whole world that Osama Bin Laden has taken no action from Afghan soil against anybody.

If America uses force and attacks Afghanistan, our innocent and suppressed people will suffer for nothing and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be destroyed.

In this regard, I ask you, honourable scholars, for guidance and a fatwa.

In the light of this fatwa we can adopt a code of conduct.

I look forward to your, respected scholars, issuing a fatwa in the light of holy Shariah.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Lucy Atherton
"No reason has been given for the delay in deciding Osama Bin Laden's fate"
Geoff Hoon, UK Defence Secretary
"It does appear that the Taleban are lining themselves firmly up behind the terrorist"
Taleban supporter, Omar Bakri Mohammed
"Any attack against Taleban is an attack against Muslims worldwide"
See also:

17 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's tough choice
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
UN prepares for major Afghan crisis
18 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
Spy satellites retasked
14 Sep 01 | South Asia
Aid agencies warn of Afghan crisis
12 Sep 01 | South Asia
Taleban tense as US seeks targets
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Bin Laden's command structure
16 Sep 01 | Middle East
Bin Laden divides Arab opinion
16 Sep 01 | Middle East
Iran weighs up its options
15 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan 'will comply' on terror
11 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
17 Sep 01 | Americas
More arrests in US terror probe
16 Sep 01 | South Asia
In pictures: Afghans fear US backlash
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
On edge: Afghanistan's neighbours
18 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair to visit US
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