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The Pakistani government will ask the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden in three days.
September 16, 2001 8:16 AM   Subscribe

The Pakistani government will ask the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden in three days. Why didn't the USA make such an obvious move?
posted by arf (42 comments total)

 
Well, the response of the Taliban would probably and continues to be unlikely to be encouraging. Also Pakistan has an established diplomatic relationship with the Taliban, while the US never recognized it. The Taliban probably won't hand him over (if it does hand him over, do we give the Taliban a pass for its past support?), but then at least we can't be accused of not having tried.
posted by Charmian at 8:23 AM on September 16, 2001


Why just bin Laden? I would think that the US would want to draft a top 20,50 or 100 list for extradition.
If we're just going to go after the figureheads, we're just going to create new martyrs without causing much real harm to the organizations.
posted by boaz at 8:28 AM on September 16, 2001


It would be prudent for the Taliban to hand him over. They would not lose too much face among their allies by handing over a political liability like Bin Ladin, and while it likely would not get them off the hook altogether, it should prevent a ground invasion of Afghanistan.
posted by pretzelboy at 8:29 AM on September 16, 2001


The poster seems to think America has been remiss. I believe I had on my site posted earlier the idea that America asked for and got cooperation fro Pakistan. And further, that it was our statement that Taliban had three days to hand Bin Laden over. Pakistan, it seems, is a useful go between and knows that it is in their best interest to take our position rather than a pro-Taliban position.
posted by Postroad at 8:31 AM on September 16, 2001


Good idea to not just take out the figurehead, but do we even know the command structure of bin Laden's organization?
posted by Charmian at 8:33 AM on September 16, 2001


Has there been definitive proof that Bin Laden was the one who directed all this? Not that I would be surprised, but is there proof?
posted by Hildegarde at 8:36 AM on September 16, 2001


I think one reason Pakistan has done this is to use it as leverage..."Hand over bin laden now and let's save face or we're going to allow the US in here, and may God help you." This warns the Taliban that Pakistan isn't afraid of any retaliation from Afghanistan. Sanctions against Pakistan may be lifted if they cooperate and the government is telling its people if we help the US, we get money, but they have to allow the Taliban to act first...my two scents...
posted by n'awlins at 8:48 AM on September 16, 2001


Because our intent is not to take Bin Laden into custody; it is to eliminate known terrorist organizations so that they cannot function in future.
posted by rushmc at 8:50 AM on September 16, 2001


Good point, hildegarde. All we know for sure are the names used by the 19 hijackers who authorities believe commandeered the four planes.
posted by arf at 8:50 AM on September 16, 2001


Yeah, right. So, like - the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden... and then the US refrains from engaging in an enormous military strike? Ha ha ha.
posted by skylar at 9:04 AM on September 16, 2001


The U.S. should go after bin Laden even if he wasn't behind this particular attack. He sure as hell has enough blood on his fingers from other acts of terrorism.
posted by dagny at 9:26 AM on September 16, 2001


Yes, perhaps Bush should go after all terrorists, even if they weren't involved in the NYC strike. Why not start by dropping a bomb on Northern Ireland? That should put an end to the IRA problem.
posted by skylar at 9:35 AM on September 16, 2001


Um ... the IRA never attacked the US.
posted by argybarg at 10:02 AM on September 16, 2001


Pakistan made the request in order to put forth its request of "Washington to retire its $30 billion debt to international lenders. It also wants the United States to play a more active role in helping it solve the Kashmir problem with India."
posted by DBAPaul at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2001


I agree with postroad...I think that the US asked Pakistan to deliver that message; I certainly don't believe Pakistan acted on their own.

I have to say that I am not informed well enough politically to be able to say what should be done, but my guess is that they (gov't) know a hell of a lot more than they are telling us at any given time.

There is a fine line between legitimate war (if there is such a thing) and war crimes...I hope the US is very careful when deciding how to proceed.
posted by lisel at 10:04 AM on September 16, 2001


argybarg: Um...I think skylar was being sarcastic there in response to dagny's suggestion that the US go after bin Laden even if he's not the guilty party.
posted by lisel at 10:07 AM on September 16, 2001


well, I think that its a good move, and that the Pakistani government has a little bit more right, if you will, to make them hand him over. and just to reply to what hildegarde said earlier, although there is not solid proof he has done it, even without counted the world trade center bombing, he is still on the 10 ten most wanted list in the U.S., because he has done many other things, including the '93 world trade center bombing.
posted by yukiyo at 10:20 AM on September 16, 2001


The majority of IRA funding comes from Boston, doesn't it? In this new found atmosphere of getting things done, lets go bomb.. Maybe not..

Could somebody please give me some evidence that bin Laden did it - he's been involved in the Afghan civil war since swearing allegiance to the Mullah of Afghanistan - they took out the main leader of the opposition in a major operation this week - could he have organised two major operations like this at once? Also in swearing allegiance, would he do something that would provoke retaliation to his new nation??

And some of the evidence.. Qu'ran and arabic flight manual on display in a car? Erm.. This is so fishy it stinks.

PS, could somebody e-mail info on how the Towers fell in such a controlled way without internal explosions (links etc), my addy is here - thanks!
posted by Mossy at 10:29 AM on September 16, 2001


If Bush is serious about his stated policy, it would seem to necessarily include the IRA, their protestant counterparts, the Basque separatists, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, and on and on.

I'd recomend giving some healthy distance to the black bloc crowd, too.
posted by NortonDC at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2001


Mossy, what are you working up to?
posted by argybarg at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2001


Mossy:

It sounded weird to me too. Lets look at this scenario. The terrorists have been maticulously planning the whole thing for atleast 2 yrs ago, because one of the pilots got his training 15 months ago. They stopped any leaks in 2 years time. They accomplished the mission. Flawless, Organized and perfect timing.

And they left a copy of Quran and arabic flight manuals and reciepts is so stupid an act. They did every thing right and then left clues that can compromise the identity of their friends planning further attacks ?

I mean what was going on ? Was it like "ok we are going to the airport, lets review our flight manuals!!" HA HA.

Conspiracy Theory

I believe that it is entirely not impossible, that the news of Quran and reciepts and arabic flight manuals was made up by the FBI. It could be that they found this rental car, actually used by one of the hijackers. But in order to beef up their hunch to a claim, so that they could go on with the investigation without individual's rights problem.
posted by adnanbwp at 10:57 AM on September 16, 2001


There will soon have to made a distinction between terrorists who bomb etc countries other than those they are in and those who are international in outlook. Thus, those who targeted the ship Cole and the trade towers are on the OK list to go after; terrorists in the West Bank and in Ireland etc etc are strictly local and to be left alone (!). Odd, isn't it.
Does the Bush administration plan to rid the world of terrorism totally or just terrorists who hit us as a target--the truly vile ones attacking us?
Mr Bush is not yet clear on this. Would he take out N. Ireland for harboring terrorists and not handing them over?
posted by Postroad at 11:04 AM on September 16, 2001


Don't expect to see much about the evidence in public for a good long time. These events have highlighted tremendous shortcomings in US intelligence, and they're not going to jeopardize whatever relevant sources they do have by putting their fruits out for public scrutiny.

Not saying this is good, not saying this is bad, just saying it is.
posted by NortonDC at 11:04 AM on September 16, 2001


adnanbwp, that's not a way-out-there conspiracy theory. I may agree. I just wondered if Mossy's p.s. wasn't implying that the buildings were detonated.
posted by argybarg at 11:11 AM on September 16, 2001


Does the Bush administration plan to rid the world of terrorism totally or just terrorists who hit us as a target--the truly vile ones attacking us?

This is an important question. I don't even know what the answer SHOULD be.

Mr Bush is not yet clear on this. Would he take out N. Ireland for harboring terrorists and not handing them over?

This is not. Surely some conflicts, even those which make use of some terror tactics, can be considered as strictly internal matters?
posted by rushmc at 11:13 AM on September 16, 2001


I believe there has been a standing order from the UN to the Afghani government to hand over bin Laden for a while now. This is why they are accused of harboring him.
posted by Rubicon1 at 11:24 AM on September 16, 2001


Response to Mossy's question why the towers fell in a "controlled" way -- ( I'm assuming the question implies some wider conspiracy, that there must have been some internal explosives planted to make the building fall that way). As numerous articles and interviews with the engineers who built the building have explained, the intense heat (over 1000 degrees F.) from thousands of gallons of jet fuel burning simply turned the structural steel frames of the buildings to jelly, incapable of holding any weight. The way the buildings were designed, most of the structural support was in the outside wall (so as to have large open floors), with steel columns 39 inches apart, so the structure was kind of like a giant steel tube. Blowing a large hole in one side would not bring it down. But the fire eventually weakened the columns on the other sides, and when there was no longer the capacity to hold up the upper part of the building, it fell. In the absence of any force pushing it sideways, gravity would (and did) direct it straight down. Naturally, once it started down, it collapsed the floors below it like a row of dominoes, and large pieces of debris did fall out the sides as they hit obstacles below. It has been stated that the terrorists may have been aware that the optimal target was the upper part of the building, where the steel skin was thinner (since it needed to bear less weight); that a plane hitting the bottom of the building might not have penetrated as far.
posted by beagle at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2001


It's very common to have a neutral party make a diplomatic request. It's called an allied demarche. As the US and Pakistan have been meeting around the clock, it makes sense they decided the request should come from one Islamic nation to another.

PS, could somebody e-mail info on how the Towers fell in such a controlled way without internal explosions
I've heard that it go so hot that the steel framework literally melted.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:34 AM on September 16, 2001


Also, because so much of the support was on the outside edges, the interior failed and collapsed first, meaning that the interior pulled down and in on the exterior structure instead of just falling over.

Separately, if it was a conspiracy, and this much destruction was desirable, why would the conspirators seek to limit damage by orchestrating a straight fall? Clearly the people that did this intended more damge, not less (remember that one plane never reached its target).
posted by NortonDC at 11:39 AM on September 16, 2001


This article on Salon has an explanation by a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:45 AM on September 16, 2001


Umm...an explanation of why the towers collapsed.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:46 AM on September 16, 2001


Bin Laden is wanted not just for this attack, but also for the last attack on the WTC -- the one with the bomb in the basement that didn't bring them down. Remember that? There is a criminal indictment for him outstanding in that attack, and that alone would be sufficient. People were killed that time, too.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:15 PM on September 16, 2001


The towers were engineered to collapse inward from the get-go -- that was always one of their basic safety features, since a lot more people would have died if, say, they had toppled *over* instead -- like a felled tree, with a much wider radius of destruction.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:19 PM on September 16, 2001


Personally, I've never heard of an anonymous terrorist attack before. Terrorists attacks usually are meant to carry some sort of message or warning and responsibility is claimed eventually. They are proud of what they do. I think whomever the guilty party is has some sort of strategic plan of which this is only a small part.

The gov't has too much to lose to be planting evidence. The US often represents the free western world and they can't afford to lose that trust by falsifying evidence, especially when they need a lot of political backing right now.

The terrorists are monsters but they aren't stupid (unfortunately). I think everything the FBI found was deliberately left behind.
posted by lisel at 1:00 PM on September 16, 2001


I'm glad to see some really sensible debate here (and this time I'm not being sarcastic). Have to agree with a couple of thoughts from earlier in the thread:

1) Bush is going to have to make some distinctions soon, because a "War on Terrorism" is way too vague. If he really cared about terrorism in general he would have cracked down on American individuals who help fund the IRA. I don't imagine his game plan involves wasting time ending the IRA's activities in the UK (which so far have killed about the same number of people currently reported dead in NYC). When Bush says "War on Terrorism" he means "War on A-rabs" :(

2) The American government will have to present its evidence to the world media very soon. It seems completely ridiculous that despite billions in intelligence spending, the US couldn't predict or prevent the WTC disaster... but now within days can track down dozens of terrorists partly responsible for it. Here in the UK security services have been well known for fabricating evidence after major terrorist disasters- it's a way of appeasing those citizens baying for blood. I'm not saying that the car, flight manual and passport so far discovered are planted, but I'd be disappointed if they are the most convincing pieces of evidence the US government can come up with. I'd also like to caution that the terrorists are unlikely to all have travelled on their own (rather than stolen) identities.
posted by skylar at 1:21 PM on September 16, 2001


ok, let's put it this way: the hijackers knew that they were going to die, yes? so why would they care if someone found their flight manuals? they could be more easily martyred that way, i'd think.
posted by sugarfish at 1:21 PM on September 16, 2001


The American government will have to present its evidence to the world media very soon.

Maybe or maybe not. But they do have to present evidence to the nations from whom they expect support... Presenting it to the media is just for public opinion.

If all of the supporting countries in the world came out and said, "we've seen the evidence, and it is overwhelming. We'll show you later after the operation is complete" I think that for the most part, the World media would fall in line.

It seems completely ridiculous that despite billions in intelligence spending, the US couldn't predict or prevent the WTC disaster... but now within days can track down dozens of terrorists partly responsible for it.

It's all been electronic intelligence. We haven't employed human intelligence means. Pakistan and others have. Pakistan (and Afghanistan) know more about the group than anyone I would bet. And guess who's cooperating with us...

Besides, it is ALWAYS easier to piece things together than to predict them.

I'm not saying that the car, flight manual and passport so far discovered are planted, but I'd be disappointed if they are the most convincing pieces of evidence the US government can come up with.

Why do you think that the U.S. would release all it's evidence to the world in the middle of an investigation? My guess is that they release just enough to let the public know that they are making progress, but don't release too much specific stuff...
posted by fooljay at 1:40 PM on September 16, 2001


On the subject of additional damage that didn't occur, can someone explain to me the baffling oversight of the hijackers in not having anthrax stowed away in their checked luggage so that it would be dispersed from the height of the collision/explosion to settle down over New York City, thus potentially taking out millions, rather than thousands? By all accounts, anyone with the ability to plan and execute the attack as it occurred would have access to biological agents, and it is known that bin Laden does. Why go to all that trouble, and then not go all the way?

My only thought so far is that perhaps this "war" may have been planned to occur in stages, designed for maximum demoralization of the American public, and that that is scheduled for a later stage. Am I being paranoid?

I haven't seen this question addressed in the media yet.
posted by rushmc at 4:24 PM on September 16, 2001


I don't imagine his game plan involves wasting time ending the IRA's activities in the UK

Even odder is Tony Blair echoing Bush's words about a general war on terrorism while negotiating with the self-confessed former deputy of the IRA (Martin McGuiness) and having previously released convicted IRA terrorists early from prison as part of the peace deal. Yesterdays terrorists are tomorrows statesmen. The ANC was invovled in terrorist activities.
posted by Summer at 5:02 PM on September 16, 2001


Media reports suggest the terrorists were here for extended periods, at least maintaining the pretense of being engaged in other pursuits. Maintaining a vigilant and secure storage over infectious bio-agents for indefinite periods might not be the forte of suicidal mass murderers.
posted by NortonDC at 5:34 PM on September 16, 2001


My only thought so far is that perhaps this "war" may have been planned to occur in stages, designed for maximum demoralization of the American public, and that that is scheduled for a later stage. Am I being paranoid?

Not as far as I'm concerned. If they wanted to truly induce terror, they would have planned on doing something once or twice a week. The magnitude of the coordinated attack may have just been an introduction. The follow-ups don't need to be nearly as grandiose to have a stunning effect.

Furthermore, I believe that there were more terrorists in the air. There may have even been planned S.F., Chicago, Houston and L.A. attacks at 9am in their time zones. I suspect that the FAA saved many more lives that day. I don't think that anyone could have expected such a swift and total response as to immediately ground all flights.

Unfortunately, it also means that there may be more terrorists here in the states who were completely prepared to die, now sitting around trying to figure out how to get their virgins.
posted by fooljay at 7:16 PM on September 16, 2001


I agree with both Fooljay and NortonDC, if that's possible. The terrorists allegedly carried only knives: their plan was clearly to get in the air with the minimum of hassle (and packing a load of anthrax in your suitcase would count as hassle).

It seems only too likely that there were more planes in the sky last Tuesday, as well. We're not being told about it, we may never be officially told about it, but the information will come out. For a start, I've read multiple reports that there are TWO crash sites for Pittsburgh. This would indicate that the plane had been shot down by a fighter and landed in two halves. Secondly, the US government DID know about the attack in time to launch a fighter to prevent the Pentagon attack. Except they thought the plane was heading to the White House, so they evacuated the White House... meanwhile the plane turned around and headed for the Pentagon.
posted by skylar at 2:05 AM on September 17, 2001


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