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Pakistan: No Political Asylum for bin Laden and Mullah Omar - 2001-11-17


Pakistan says it would refuse to give political asylum to chief terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden and Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Amhed Khan told reporters in Islamabad Saturday the Geneva Convention -- which calls for the protection of civilians during war -- cannot apply to Mr. bin Laden or the mullah. He said countries can give asylum only to those who are entitled to it under international and local laws.

Pakistan is the only country that still has diplomatic relations with the Taleban.

Mr. Khan also called an Iranian radio report that Osama bin Laden has fled into Pakistan baseless. He said Pakistan has tightened security and heightened its vigilance along the Afghan border.

The Taleban's envoy to Pakistan also refutes the Iranian report and said Osama bin Laden is still inside Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, U-S warplanes bombed the remaining Taleban-held positions Saturday as the Taleban vows to hold onto its southern stronghold city of Kandahar.

Witnesses say they saw some Taleban fighters fleeing the city. But the Taleban dismisses as lies reports it is planning to surrender Kandahar to Pashtun tribal leaders.

U-S jets also pounded the the city of Kunduz -- the only northern city still held by the Taleban.

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