UN considers arms embargo against Taliban
The Times of India
WASHINGTON: Stepping up its campaign against the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the United States said it is discussing with other UN Security Council members the possibility of imposing an arms embargo against that country.
This and other punitive measures are being contemplated for the Taliban's refusal to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Monday.
Boucher said other steps include barring senior Taliban officials from traveling internationally and the closing of Taliban offices in foreign countries.
Boucher used the occasion of the second anniversary of the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa to disclose the initiative. In a statement, President Bill Clinton remembered the lives lost in the bombing of the embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.
"I believe they were targets precisely because they were dedicated to principles of tolerance, understanding and cooperation across frontiers," Clinton said. "The terrorists took from us our colleagues, friends and loved ones, but they have failed utterly to deter us from advancing these principles around the world."
Bin Laden, a Saudi exile, is wanted for the East Africa bombings but the Taliban says he cannot be turned over to American authorities because there is no bilateral extradition treaty. The Taliban also says Afghan culture forbids a guest in their country to be delivered to enemies.
Boucher noted that six persons wanted in the bombings are awaiting trial in the United States and three others are in custody in the United Kingdom pending extradition to the United States.
Eight others, including bin Laden, remain at large. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a brief appearance before reporters on Monday to talk about the East Africa bombings, which killed more than 200 persons.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of those, American and African, who were killed or seriously injured," she said.
Since the tragedy, she said, physical security has been enhanced at every U.S. diplomatic post and there are now mandatory inspections for every vehicle entering American diplomatic facilities overseas. In addition, 337 new diplomatic security personnel have been hired and trained. (AP)
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