Report: Bin Laden directs attacks on Afghan opposition
MOSCOW, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, wanted by the
United States for the East African embassy bombings, is still active in the
Afghan war and often directs the Taliban's operations against the Afghan
opposition, the Russia Today reported.
Quoting Burhanuddin Rabbani, the man the United Nations still recognizes
as Afghanistan's president, the agency said, "Bin Laden is actively
participating in the jihad, often leading training sessions and guiding his
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, who have been sheltering bin Laden
since 1996, say they have cut his links with the world, even taking away his
communication equipment. They say bin Laden lives a private life and does
not participate in political or military activities. Despite that, however,
U.S. investigators suspect that bin Laden may be behind the recent bombing
of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. The group includes six countries
neighboring Afghanistan along with the United States and Russia who
participate as guarantors. The neighbors are Iran, Pakistan, China, and the
Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The group is scheduled to meet again in New York Monday to consider a
fresh peace proposal by the United Nations.
Francesco Vendrell, the U.N. Secretary General's special representative in
Afghanistan, will brief senior diplomats from the group on his efforts to
end the fighting between the ruling Taliban militia and Rabbani's Northern
In his report to the group, Rabbani said bin Laden's men "ostensibly fight
together with the Taliban in the opposition-controlled northern Afghanistan.
The Taliban control more than 95 percent of the Afghan territory while the
opposition holds small enclaves in the north.
"Rabbani claims that sometimes bin Laden himself directs Taliban's
military operations," says the Russian news report.
In a separate report to the Russian authorities, the Northern Alliance's
chief military commander, Ahmad Shah Masoud, has added more details to
Rabbani's report, the agency said. He is believed to have provided "maps and
sketches detailing foreign involvement in the Afghan war."
Last month, Masoud met Russian Defense minister Igor Sergeev and asked him
to provide military support to the Afghan opposition, the report said.
However, the Russians were reluctant to provide free military support to the
The international community does not recognize the Taliban though it
controls more than 90 percent of Afghanistan. Only three countries,
Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, recognize the Taliban
regime. At issue of Afghanistan's U.N. seat. Last week, the United Nations
said it would continue to recognize Rabbani as the legitimate president of
The feuding factions fought the Soviet-occupation army together in the
1980s and eventually forced them out of the country.
(With reporting by Anwar Iqbal in San Francisco)
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