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Taliban diplomat condemns attacks

Mullah Abul Salam Zaeef
Mullah Abul Salam Zaeef  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Afghanistan's Taliban ambassador to Pakistan has condemned the string of astonishing terrorist attacks on the United States.

"We want to tell the American children that Afghanistan feels your pain. We hope the courts find justice," ambassador Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said in a statement in Pakistan after America was hit by a series of attacks that have been called the worst since Pearl Harbor.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said they were "terrorist attacks" and American officials say their "working assumption" is that the attacks in New York and Washington are acts of "overseas terrorism."

They have added they cannot rule out additional attacks.

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Officials say they had no intelligence beforehand that a massive terrorist plot was under way.

There have been a number of denials of responsibility by Palestinian groups and by the al Qaeda group headed by fugitive Saudi accused terrorist Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials say they have no credible claim of responsibility.

Angered U.S.

The Taliban has in the past angered the U.S. for giving sanctuary to wanted Saudi dissident bin laden, described by Washington as "the world's most wanted terrorist."

Apart from the embassy bombings, U.S. officials also link bin Laden to last year's bombing of a U.S. navy ship in Yemen and with foiled plots in the United States and Jordan at the turn of the millennium.

The Taliban sprang from religious schools in Pakistan near the Afghan border and, with almost no military experience, swept from obscurity to their 1996 capture of the capital in only two years.

Beyond Pakistan, the Taliban have few friends.

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are the only other countries to recognize the Taliban as the legal government, but they have not joined Pakistan in maintaining embassies in Kabul.

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