Thursday, January 04, 2007

Taliban Leader Hasn't Seen Osama Since 2001

In an email interview in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Mullah Omar, one of the surviving fugitive Taliban leaders, reveals that he hasn't had any contact with Osama bin Laden since 2001:
Q: Have you met Osama bin Laden since the Taliban were driven out of power in 2001?

A: I have neither seen him nor have made any effort to do so, but I do pray for his health and safety.
The longer Ayman al-Zawahiri continues to be the mouthpiece for al Qaeda - without a peep from Osama, the more credence this story, about rumors of Osama's ignominious death from typhoid, gains.

Omar reveals the mind of a weasel in other parts of the interview, refusing to admit that by granting asylum to bin Laden the Taliban ensured their own downfall, and blaming their troubles on "conspiracies of the infidels":
Q: Looking back, what mistakes do you think the Taliban made when they ruled Afghanistan -- mistakes that you would not want to repeat?

A: You know that our [Taliban] movement came to power at a time when Afghanistan was in a war-like situation. Though the Taliban had established its writ in areas that they had conquered but we were still fighting our enemy [the Northern Alliance] in other parts of the country. We could have formed a real government had we achieved full and total control over the entire country and we did manage to run the government in an organised manner with the blessings of shariah and divine laws. But if there were problems, those were largely because of the conspiracies of the infidels and foreign enemies. For instance, the imposition of sanctions on the Taliban, strengthening of anti-Taliban forces and preparing them to fight the mujahideen.

Without doubt, had there been no such difficulty, we would have overcome those problems. But still I can say this with confidence that the way we managed to form a peaceful government, it could not have been done by anyone else.

Q: Do you think that your stand on giving refuge to Osama bin Laden before the US invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake. Do you regret it now?

A: Our stand to grant refuge to Osama bin Laden was based on principles. If there were people who were opposed to us giving refuge to him, they should have used logic and reason. They should not have used threats.

Q: Your refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden distanced Afghanistan from two of its allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? Do you think it was the right decision?

A: I had never agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. If someone says that I did, then they must have been dreaming. If we had wanted to hand over Osama, we would not have given such a big sacrifice.