Taliban Not Terrorists: Pakistan
Pakistan does not consider the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan to be "terrorists," foreign ministry spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said Monday.
"The Taliban are not terrorists. We never regarded them as terrorists," he told a press conference hours before the arrival of US Secretary of State Colin Powell for talks on the US military campaign in Afghanistan.
"The United States had said earlier that they have to go after terrorists and they are still demanding from the Taliban leadership that Osama bin Laden should be handed over.
"They are not saying that they are terrorists, but they are saying hand over Osama bin Laden."
US forces are leading internationally backed military strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan for their refusal to extradite millionaire Saudi dissident bin Laden, blamed for the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington.
Pakistan supports the US action but still recognises the Taliban Islamic militia as the legitimate government in Afghanistan.
"We have tried to emphasise to them that they should take decisions in the best interests of their country and we told them what the international community is asking," Khan said, referring to failed talks between Pakistani officials and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar -- Islamabad, (AFP)