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U-S Rejects Decision on Bin Laden - 2001-09-20


The United States has rejected a call by Islamic clerics that Osama bin Laden should be allowed to leave Afghanistan voluntarily.

A White House spokesman said this does not meet U-S requirements, because it would amount to allowing the alleged terrorist mastermind to go from one safe haven to another.

U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell says the main suspect in last week's terror attacks must be quickly put under the control of authorities who can bring him to justice. Secretary Powell also called on the Taleban to hand over members of alleged terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, including what he called Mr. bin Laden's "lieutenants."

The recommendation made by the Afghan clerics to Taleban authorities was issued Thursday. A Taleban statement released late Thursday in Pakistan, said forcing Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan would be what was called "an insult to Islam."

Meanwhile, protests by Islamic groups in Pakistan are growing against the United States and their government's decision to support the Bush administration in its fight against terrorism.

Thursday, anti-U-S protests were held in the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Peshawar.

Hundreds of demonstrators vowed to fight a holy war if their government supports a U-S attack on neighboring Afghanistan and its hardline Islamic Taleban authorities.

Wednesday, Pakistan's President, Pervez Musharraf, delivered a nationally televised speech saying Washington has asked for logistical support, intelligence information and the use of Pakistani airspace in a possible air attack into Afghanistan.

General Musharraf also said those who oppose cooperation with the United States represent a small minority

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