Taliban rejects Musharraf's statement about bin Laden: report
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 10 (Kyodo) - Afghan Taliban Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil Mutwakkal has rejected reports that Pakistan's military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf suggested Arab dissident and alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden Arab could be tried in a third country, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported Saturday.
The AIP report quoted Mutwakkal as saying bin Laden ''would not be handed over for trial in a third country.''
On Wednesday, the Dubai-based newspaper Al-Jazira reported that Musharraf had said in an interview that Taliban would not hand bin Laden over to the United States, but could be persuaded to allow his trial to take place in a third country.
The Taliban's refusal to deport or extradite bin Laden has resulted in crippling U.N. economic sanctions against the country.
Bin Laden is wanted by the U.S. in connection with bomb blasts at two of its African embassies.
Mutwakkal reiterated the Taliban position that a tribunal of three clergymen from Islamic countries, including Afghanistan, may try bin Laden, or that bin Laden can leave Afghanistan of his own free will, the report said.
''We have not taken any decision to hand over bin Laden to a third country,'' nor can he be tried in Afghanistan without proof of his crimes, Mutwakkal reportedly said.
The United Nations imposed sanctions on Taliban last December for its failure to hand bin Laden over to the U.S.
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