Hosting bin Laden a "mistake" Taliban official says
Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, in his first interview after three years in detention, said the Islamist regime erred by hosting Osama bin Laden but could still make a respectable showing if it ran for office.The man seems to have a gift for understatement.
As if to test his thesis, Mr. Mutawakil filed papers last week to run for parliament in September in his home city of Kandahar, the home base of the Taliban movement from its inception in 1994.
"I am an Afghan, and I have the right to be an independent candidate," he was quoted as saying at the time. "The public must decide who they want as their leaders, whether it's the Taliban or someone else."
Asked about bin Laden, who used Afghanistan as a base for a series of strikes on U.S. interests culminating in the September 11, 2001, attacks, Mr. Mutawakil said it had been a mistake to harbor him and his followers.
"Our guests used Afghanistan for their own ends against the world," he said. ?We suffered and so did they because of the international reaction."
Mr. Mutawakil said rich and powerful guests had often been a problem for Afghanistan.