Taliban Says US Has 'No Proof' bin Laden Is Behind 9/11

Comment raising skepticism about group's pledge to distance itself from al-Qaeda
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2021 11:55 AM CDT
Taliban: 'No Proof' bin Laden Behind 9/11 Attacks
A 1998 photo of Osama bin Laden.   (AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File)

Now that the Taliban is back in power, its spokesmen have a much larger voice. And in a new interview with NBC News, one of them makes a claim that will likely cause a lot of Americans to do a double take: There's "no proof" Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, says Zabihullah Mujahid. In fact, the proof is "well documented," notes the Washington Post. But Mujahid accuses the US of using bin Laden as an excuse to go into Afghanistan to oust the Taliban from power. At the time, the group was providing a safe haven for the al-Qaeda leader. "When Osama bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan," says Mujahid. "There was no justification for this war. It was an excuse for war."

Mujahid's comments, however, came in the context of him pledging that the Taliban would no longer allow al-Qaeda or other such groups to use Afghanistan as a base. "We have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone," he says. Analysts aren't exactly holding their breath about that. The relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda is "cordial and stronger than in the pre-9/11 period," Afghanistan analyst Abdul Sayed tells the Post. Also in the interview, Mujahid reiterated another promise made by the Taliban, one that's also being met with skepticism. Women will have "all the rights that Islam promises," he says, adding that "they can be doctors, teachers, be educated and can work to benefit society." (Read more Osama bin Laden stories.)

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