The Pakistani Foreign Ministry
October 4, 2001 5:40 AM   Subscribe

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry says that the evidence against Al Qaeda is convincing. The Taliban say that even if they were given convincing evidence, they still wouldn't give up bin Laden.
posted by Steven Den Beste (15 comments total)
Not surprising... their request for evidence and negotiations is only a delaying tactic to allow them to build up their forces...
posted by da5id at 5:49 AM on October 4, 2001

Sounds like we have a deal then. War it is.
Probably a more accurate analysis would be that even if bin Laden had convincing evidence he still wouldn't give up the leaders of the Taliban.
posted by nofundy at 5:52 AM on October 4, 2001

The article states:
Zaeef's comments, which could not be immediately verified, were the first indication by Afghanistan's hardline Islamic rulers that they would not hand over bin Laden under any circumstances.

Does anyone have a link that can verify that these are Zaeef's words?
posted by jeffvc at 5:59 AM on October 4, 2001

"they still wouldn't give up bin Laden."

Did anyone seriously ever think they would? Are there people out there thinking that the Taliban might ever give any consideration to punishing Al Quaida?

Hello? The Taliban like Al Quaida. They support Al Quaida. I thought it was obvious that they're willing to fight and die in support of Al Quaida's right to bomb civilians. What am I missing here?
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:11 AM on October 4, 2001

I'm not surprised: the insistence on "proof" was a sham to begin with. There's no kind of "proof" we could provide that they would accept anyway. That's why casting this debate in the semantics of law-enforcement is dumb; this is not (or should not be, at any rate) a police-action. It's a war against political enemies.

We are obligated to provide nothing to the Taliban. They have been given an ultimatum: hand him over or face the consequences. And if our fair-weather "friends" in the Middle East and Asia have a problem with that, then we should re-evaluate our relationships with them accordingly.
posted by mrmanley at 6:11 AM on October 4, 2001

"Negotiations are the way to solve problems, war will only complicate things."

"Oh, by the way, we're not doing anything we said we would, and you can't make us."

Nice "negotiating" there.
posted by byort at 6:13 AM on October 4, 2001

it might be because of the code of pashtunwali, from a newsletter i got a couple weeks ago:

"...bin Laden has now married into the Taliban "family." His eldest daughter married the son of Mullah Muhammed Omar in early January of this year. In so doing, he is not only a guest of the Pashtun Taliban, he is family. No matter what is said on television and in the press, the Taliban will never surrender bin Laden, unless it is proven that he has actively moved against his "family" in Afghanistan. That, however, shall not happen [Ed. Note: It is true that bin Laden came to his daughter's wedding, and that US and Israeli intelligence knew where the wedding was held, that bin Laden was there, and that he was vulnerable to assassination. Nonetheless, the US administration at the time chose not to execute him when the opportunity to do so was clear... an error of judgement of enormous size, now having catastrophic effects everywhere upon society]."
posted by kliuless at 6:33 AM on October 4, 2001

Fine, then.

Let's have the snake eaters capture him, bring him out, then we'll give him sex-change surgery and once he's healed, we'll reinfiltrate him into Afghanistan so he can live under Taliban rule as a woman.
posted by alumshubby at 6:45 AM on October 4, 2001

I believe I first saw this reported in Duh Magazine.

You guys really should subscribe, you'd be up on this stuff days in advance :)
posted by UncleFes at 6:49 AM on October 4, 2001

Hello? The Taliban like Al Quaida. They support Al Quaida. I thought it was obvious that they're willing to fight and die in support of Al Quaida's right to bomb civilians. What am I missing here?

Although they condone Al-Qaeda's actions, i would suspect that they're holding bin Laden less out of support for Al-Qaeda than fear of Al-Qaeda. Bin Laden has more power than the Taliban regime. They'd rather face the wrath of the U.S. than the wrath of Bin Laden.

Taliban leaders are a small group of elites with very little popular support in Afghanistan. They know that if they take a stand against the U.S., worst case scenario, they're casualties in a military strike or we capture them and put them on trial. Our retailiation would be fairly antiseptic, at least in relation to the tactics used by Al-Qaeda and similar groups. it's a given that we'll probably bomb military targets (which will have been abandoned anyway by the time we get around to doing it). They may even be able to protect themselves by piling civilians on top of military targets, thinking that American sensibilities can't handle collateral damage.

Regardless, the thought of trial in the U.S. or even death by American bullets or bombs is much less frightening than being tortured to death by Al-Qaeda footsoldiers, which is what would probably happen to the individuals in power if they handed over bin Laden. Which would you rather face?

I just don't think they're refusing to hand bin Laden over on principal alone. The Taliban isn't exactly the bastion of integrity when it comes to consistent practice of their alleged ideologies.
posted by lizs at 7:38 AM on October 4, 2001

I believe the full notion is that they would not hand Bin Laden over to Western authorities. They did claim they'd allow him to be tried in a Muslim country (given proof). I make no claim about their sincerity and only note it for the record.

Personally, I think Shrub's demand was pro forma grandstanding. It's doubtful the Taliban is capable of handing him over.
posted by RavinDave at 8:53 AM on October 4, 2001

Not only do I think they're capable, I'm rather surprised they haven't already handed him over - dead. He has become a great liability to terrorist organizations everywhere (be generating so much heat), to the Taliban in their desire to be taken seriously as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and to Islam in general. Delivering a dead bin Laden to the west forestalls coming military strikes, eliminates a focal point of western enmity, and demonstrates the Taliban's willingness to participate rationally in global politics. And it prevents the rhetorical forestorm that a trial would undoubtedly provide, (personally, I can't believe for a moment that the US truly wants to bring bin Laden to trial) while allowing the Taliban to save face by saying, for example, that they went to simply talk to bin Laden, his men started shooting, and when the dust cleared turned out that Osama had caught a slug, so sad too bad. They thereby stop bad PR among their followers, too, that would stem from a live handover.
posted by UncleFes at 9:11 AM on October 4, 2001

uh, that's "firestorm", not "forestorm."

"Forestorm" is what happens when I golf.
posted by UncleFes at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2001

When can we just take over the world and be done with it?
posted by dopamine at 9:54 AM on October 4, 2001

Next Tuesday's good for me. Noonish?
posted by ArkIlloid at 8:49 PM on October 4, 2001

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