Report: Afghanistan's Taliban to discuss U.S. proposals on bin LadenFebruary 7, 1999
Web posted at: 1:16 a.m. EST (0616 GMT)
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Afghanistan's ruling Taliban Islamic militia said on Saturday it had received new U.S. proposals about Saudi-born terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden, who is now living there and wanted by Washington.
A Taliban spokesman, quoted by a Pakistan-based Afghan news service, said the proposals, which he did not disclose, were conveyed by U.S. officials during their talks in Pakistan with Taliban representatives earlier this week and were yet to be considered by the Taliban leadership.
The Afghan Islamic Press said it had learned from other sources that Washington proposed that the Taliban expel bin Laden from Afghanistan, or hand him over to the United States or Saudi Arabia.
The proposals will be submitted to Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar for consideration. Later, a response will be given, the Afghan Islamic Press quoted spokesman Mullah Abdul Haye Mutmaen as saying.
Mutmaen was speaking by telephone from the southern Afghan town of Kandahar, the militia headquarters.
Mutmaen said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth, who met Taliban deputy foreign minister Mullah Abdul Jalil on Wednesday, handed over a letter for the Taliban leadership. But he did not disclose its contents.
Jalil did not give a reply to Inderfurth about the proposals, the news service quoted its sources as saying.
At Wednesday's meeting, Inderfurth was expected to present a wide-ranging list of proposals to Jalil on the bin Laden issue, human rights, the ruling Islamists' treatment of women and drug trafficking in Taliban-occupied areas.
The Taliban control about ninety percent of Afghanistan.
In the past, the Taliban have repeatedly refused to hand bin Laden over to the United States, saying he is a guest of the Islamic militia and has no involvment with terrorism of any kind.
The United States accuses bin Laden of masterminding bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last August that killed 263 people. The U.S. has offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Bin Laden, who has denied the charge, also figured in talks that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Inderfurth held with Pakistani officials earlier this week.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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