Saudi Prince: Taliban Agreed in 1998 to Hand over Bin Laden, but Went Back on Promise
The leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia agreed two years ago to extradite Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia, but changed his mind following US strikes on Afghanistan that year, a Saudi prince told the MBC satellite channel.
Prince Turki Al Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence, in a rare public appearance told the station that he had met with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in May 1998 secured an agreement on starting negotiations on the handover of bin Laden, but after that the mullah changed his mind.
Faisal said he was convinced bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network were behind the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.
The Saudi prince, who left his post a few days before September 11, said, "I briefed [Omar] on what [bin Laden] had done against the kingdom's interests and asked him to stop him and hand him over to us."
According to Turki, Omar responded at that time to the extradition request and asked to “set up a joint (Saudi-Afghan) committee to probe the ways and means to do that.”
However, Mullah Omar changed his mind following the US attack on Afghanistan in response to bin Laden’s alleged role in blowing up two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 231 people, including 12 Americans and 50 Muslims, according to the prince.
Bin Laden was then wanted in his native Saudi Arabia for anti-government agitation and opposition to the presence of US troops.
The US has named bin Laden as the chief suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on American landmarks – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)