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THE WORLD

Taliban Leader Reportedly Says Bin Laden Still Plotting

June 13, 2002|From Reuters

MOSCOW — A Russian newspaper on Wednesday published what it said was an interview with the leader of the ousted Taliban regime, claiming that Osama bin Laden was alive in Afghanistan and threatening new attacks on Americans.

The online edition of Argumenty i Fakty weekly said Mullah Mohammed Omar replied "a few days ago" through the Internet to questions sent to him in the early spring through mediators, including former Taliban officials and Arab journalists.

Bin Laden "is alive and in Afghanistan," Omar was quoted as saying. "Osama helped us during the war with the Russians, he would not leave us now."

The newspaper, which gave no details of Omar's whereabouts, could not be reached for comment.

It quoted Omar, who fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and led the Taliban to power in the 1990s, as saying "the holy war is only just beginning."

"The fire from this war will reach America, and it will burn the capital that launched an unjust attack on Muslims," he was quoted as saying.

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