Afghan Taleban says won't surrender bin Laden
ISLAMABAD, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement said on Tuesday it would continue to give sanctuary to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who Washington wants to put on trial for allegedly blowing up two U.S. embassies.
Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taleban ambassador to Pakistan, dismissed a report in the London Times on Monday that the Taleban might hand over bin Laden in exchange for recognition as the government of Afghanistan.
"We have not given shelter to Osama bin Laden so that we can make a deal to hand him over," Zaeef told a news conference. "Our policy is clear from the beginning and this policy still prevails."
Taleban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil said separately if it turned over bin Laden, hostile governments would find another reason not to recognise his group as Afghanistan's legal rulers.
Bin Laden, a dissident Saudi businessman, has been indicted for the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa and has been named as a possible suspect behind last year's bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in Yemen.
Four alleged bin Laden associates went on trial Monday in federal court in New York for the embassy bombings.
The United Nations has imposed a variety of political and economic sanctions on the Taleban -- including an arms embargo -- in an attempt to pressure the militant Islamic group into surrendering bin Laden.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the only countries to recognise the Taleban as the government of Afghanistan, despite the fact it holds more than 90 percent of the country. The United Nations continues to recognise the opposition who are isolated in the north of the country.
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