Document reveals U.S., Taliban discussed bin Laden assassination

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

According to documents recently declassified by the U.S. State Department, top U.S. and Taliban officials discussed the potential assassination of Osama bin Laden after the bombings of U.S. embassies in 1998.

The documents were released on Thursday by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, Alan Eastham Jr., met with Wakil Ahmed, a close aide to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, on November 28 1998 at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad.

In that meeting Wakil Ahmed told Eastham Jr. that the Taliban would understand the U.S. desire to have bin Laden expelled from Afghanistan. He said that one possibility to "resolve" the "bin Laden Situation" would be if the U.S. were to "kill him, or arrange for bin Laden to be assassinated".

Wakil said the Taliban wanted to resolve the "bin Laden problem" as quickly as possible because a failure to do so would result in American bombing of Afghanistan and the Taliban's "termination".

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