Bin Laden Cleared of Charges
The Taliban has declared Osama bin Laden innocent of all charges and a free man today.
Bin Laden was indicted by a U.S. Court for the August 7 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania which killed 224 people. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for bin Laden's capture.
After a three week inquiry into allegations of bin Laden's terrorism against the U.S., Taliban officials claim that the U.S. failed to present evidence supporting charges against bin Laden. "Without any evidence, bin Laden is a man without sin. . .He is a free man," Afghanistan's Chief Justice Noor Mohammed Saqib declared.
White House National Security Council spokesperson David Leavy said, "Without commenting on the rigor of the Taliban judicial system, it is clear that Mr. bin Laden is a proven threat to U.S. national interests." Leavy pledged that American diplomatic and legal efforts will "take down his terrorist network and bring him and his associates to justice."
The United States has continually refused to recognize the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan, citing the Taliban's involvement in drug trafficking, its brutal treatment of women, and its lack of adequate health care as it reasons for denying recognition.
Media Resources: AP - November 20, 1998