Taliban FM Hints Bin Laden Still in Afghanistan
Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel said Saturday he was unaware of Osama bin Laden having left Afghanistan before or after an Islamic clerics' resolution that he be asked to do so.
"I have not heard any report that he has left Afghanistan," the minister told AFP.
He was the most senior Taliban official to comment on bin Laden's whereabouts since Thursday, when Afghan Islamic scholars adopted a resolution recommending that the Taliban persuade bin Laden to leave.
Mutawakel said: "The Islamic Emirate has listened to the resolution of the ulema [scholars] and, as usual, paid it the utmost respect."
But he said he did not know if it had been passed on to bin Laden.
A spokesman for the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar said earlier he had no idea whether the Saudi-born militant was still in the country.
Bin Laden has been based in or around the Taliban's stronghold in the southern city of Kandahar since 1996 but there has been speculation he may have slipped out of the country earlier this week -- KABUL (AFP)
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