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Taleban Vows Never to Turn Over Osama bin Laden - 2001-09-21


Afghanistan's Taleban rulers have rejected President Bush's call to hand over Osama bin Laden -- the prime suspect in last week's terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.

The Taleban ambassador to Pakistan (Abdul Salam Zaeef) told a news conference in Islamabad today (Friday) the Taleban will not hand over Mr. bin Laden without evidence that he was involved in the attacks.

The ambassador said the recommendation of Afghan Islamic clerics that the Saudi exile be persuaded to leave Afghanistan voluntarily is not binding on the government.

He also said he had no information on Mr. bin Laden's current whereabouts.

Washington has threatened to attack alleged terrorist training camps run by Mr. Laden's organization, al-Qaeda, and the Taleban for sheltering him.

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is urging Afghanistan's neighbors to keep their borders open to Afghan refugees fleeing their homes for fear of U-S military strikes on Afghanistan.

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