I'm with the Taliban on ONE thing

And probably only one thing:

There’s no way they should turn over a legal resident (Bin Laden) to anybody - least of all a county that has declared “war” on him - without being given hard evidence. If the situation were reversed, we certainly wouldn’t do it.

It’s just lawless bullying to insist the Taliban eject a resident without any kind of evidence, review or due process just because we say so while pointing missiles their way.

Yeah you can say it’s a stalling tactic on their part and yeah you can say they’re probably fully aware of what he’s been up to. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that we - a so-called “nation of laws” - are insisting a sovereign government (such as it is) completely bypass all basic civil rights protections and procedures under the threat of violence. That’s terrorism and it’s disgusting.

How about the federal indictment of Osama for killing 6 people in first WTC bombing? Evidence enough?

Irrelevant. The US is refusing to serve them with any evidence whatsoever, on this or any other crime, or to talk to them in any way. They’re just demanding they hand him over, no questions asked.

That’s a debateable term since only three governments in the world recognize the Taliban as legitimate.
Plus what position in either the United States Government or Taliban Terrorocracy or the Pakistani Government( who was likely used as a go between) do you have to know what evidence was presented to them?

And your evidence for the statement that U.S. refusing to serve them with evidence? Indictment is a matter of public record. You can order a copy from the clerk of court, and it is probably available on the web.

Down to two now, actually.

We’ve had a public indictment against bin Laden since November 4, 1998. UN Security Council Resolution 1214 (December 8, 1998) demanded that the Taliban cease “providing sanctuary and training for international terrorists and their organizations, and that all Afghan factions cooperate with efforts to bring indicted terrorists to justice.” Security Council Resolutions 1267 (October 15, 1999), and 1333 (December 19, 2000) specifically demanded, by name, that bin Laden be handed over for trial, and imposed sanctions on the Taliban for failing to do so. This isn’t a new demand, and it isn’t just a unilateral demand by the United States.

Call me psychic but I’m going by the Taliban asking for evidence before they turn Bin Laden over and Ari Fleischman saying basically “we’re not giving it to them.”

If Ari had said “we’ve given them enough evidence” that would be a different conversation and I wouldn’t have started the thread.

Pakistan is an interesting issue, and actually as I was looking at CNN just a little while ago I saw this:
U.S. to share details of bin Laden case with Pakistan. I read this after my initial post, and it strikes me that this is the U.S.'s way of giving evidence to the Taliban without giving evidence to the Taliban. So I retract my outrage if not my support of the basic principle.


I’m curious as to what laws would prevent us from demanding them to turn him over to us. We have no extradition treaty with Afghanistan that I’m aware of.

Sure we’re a nation of laws. What law prevents us from demanding his release into our custody?


MGibson, your question and the similar objections of others seems of very little relevance. I would go as far as to call them practically specious.

The question you should be asking is: If Afghanistan demanded that the United States hand over one of OUR citizens for alleged crimes against their country (even with U.N. backing) should or would WE give in based just on their demand alone?

There is no small amount of disingenuousness in some of the replies here!

I’m sure an expert in International law could find something.

But I don’t need one to answer this. Whether or not a government has enacted a specific law banning certain actions is irrelevant to whether that government acts lawlessly. We don’t need domestic laws or treaties to define certain behavior as lawless. e.g. if we threatened a country with a nuclear strike if they didn’t assassinate certain individuals or groups that would be fundamentally lawless behavior.

Too vague? Okay how’s this - if we use force or threats of force to coerce a foreign nation to bypass its own laws and processes that is lawless. Certainly if we force it to act in ways that would be patently illegal in our own country, say, subverting or abusing the civil rights of its people.

Lawless does not always mean illegal. It means acting in a way that is unrestrained by law. Can we call ourselves a nation of laws guaranteeing certain processes and procedures within our own borders while we encourage or enforce bypassing/ignoring/subverting those same processes abroad?

We do it, and maybe from a realpolitik perspective there may be instances in which it is truly necessary. That wouldn’t make it more lawful. But in this instance it’s not necessary. There is absolutely no reason why we could not formally lay out evidence simply to show respect for procedure and law and - from a diplomatic perspective - to help make the case to the unpersuaded.

I’m reminded of the Far Side where someone wearing a tutu and a clown mask has just clubbed somebody, and a cop is standing there looking at a piece of paper saying, “Gee, I guess he does have a permit for that…”

We don’t have a permit for this.

Clever but meaningless.

Sure we do.
In asking the Tealiban to hand him over, we are giving them a chance to prove that the Taliban and Bin Laden are in reality, two seperate things. If the Taliban gives him sanctuary and their blessings to train terrorists, then they are part of the plot against us.

Personally, this is why I support a formal declaration of war. It cleans up all these loose ends.

Someone is bombing us. We are going to bomb them. Please get out of the way, or you will get bombed in our efforts to bomb them.

MEBuckner wrote:

Wait a minute … one of the two countries that does recognize the Taliban as legitimate is … Pakistan.

And we’re planning on using Pakistan as the staging grounds for our military operations against the Taliban?! Why rub their noses in it like that? Why risk having our staging country turn against us? Why not just use Turkmenistan, or one of those other former-Soviet countries north of Afghanistan, as our military staging area?

<<Why not just use Turkmenistan, or one of those other former-Soviet countries north of Afghanistan, as our military staging area?>>

Because the main supply route from the sea would be too long, and we’d render our entire Navy (in this case, most of our available combat power) irrelevant to the fight. And if logistical bases in Turkmenistan come under attack by the locals, they will be isolated from support from Naval aviation. With Pakistan in on our side, we can potentially shift assets from Saudi Arabia to the carrier decks to Diego Garcia to Pakistan to Turkmenistan as the operational situation warrants. We can force the Taliban army to move to react. And when they move they can be destroyed from the air.

Without Pakistan’s support, we cannot use Turkmenistan OR Pakistan as a staging area without taking on some serious risks–the turkmenistan units and units in the south will not be mutually reinforcing.

By cultivating an alliance with Pakistan and other moderate Arab states, and using them as our staging areas, we also can mitigate the false charge our enemies will raise that this is a war not between civilization and terrorists but between the west and Islam.

Also keep in mind that we are no less likely to encounter hostility from locals in Turkmenistan than we are to encounter hostility from locals in Pakistan.

Because Pakistan can be supplied by the sea; it’s difficult to land a transport in Uzbekistan or Tajikstan - and we’ll probably operate from the former Soviet republics as well.

Because Pakistan was a staunch US ally in the Cold War, and only in the past decade or two have relations deterioriated.

Because General Musharraf has been unstinting in his support of the US after Sep 11- though some people in the country may turn against us, barring a civil war and an overthrow of his military dictatorship, I doubt the host country would turn against us.

And because by working closely with Pakistan, we can continue diplomatic pressure on the Taliban rather than writing off that avenue entirely.

On a semi-related note, I saw this in a cnn.com article and laughed aloud:

“So, hey, Putin, um, remember that whole Afghanistan thing? Yeah, sorry about financing the mujahedeen, but, y’know, it made good copy for Rambo II. Or was it Rambo III? Anyway, you know the one. What I’m getting at, Putin baby, is we’re gonna need you to invade again… what? No, no! This time we’re gonna HELP you! Honest!”

tracer: Re: Why Pakistan and not the Central Asian states?

Pakistan is a vastly superior choice from a purely logistics point of view. There are a number of serious practical difficulties in using Transoxiana as a staging area, depending on just what sort of operation we’re talking about ( the larger the military comittment, the tougher it becomes ). About the only real geographic advantage is direct access to the territories of the Northern Alliance ( which, IMHO, I would dismiss as virtually irrelevant ) and a cleaner advance route through the northen plains of Afghanistan ( which isn’t where either bin Laden or the Taliban headquarter themselves and would only be appilcable if we were looking to occupy the country - not a wise move in any analysts mind, I think ).

Also, not to be crass, but in all honesty Pakistan is much more vulnerable to American arm-twisting. The U.S. has somewhat more limited options when it comes to applying political pressure on a nation like Turkmenistan ( not that it has none, just less ).

Which doesn’t eliminate your concern, which I ( and probably everyone else ) share. Pakistan does face a threat of real instability if compelled to host U.S. forces. It’s just in a number of respects it’s the best of poor choices.

Of course it is possible American forces may not be required to set foot on Pakistani soil at all, just traverse their airspace. I kinda doubt it and that would still cause trouble for Pakistan, but it would be a slightly better scenario.

  • Tamerlane

Damn! Late, as usual :smiley: .

  • Tamerlane

Actually, though I agree with most of your post, I will disagree with that particular point.

Pakistan has much stronger ethnic ties with the more pro-Taliban portion of Afghanistan’s population ( the Pashtun people have always straddled the porous border and been essentially split between the two ), not too mention that the ( still quite populous ) refugee camps where the Taliban was incubated and born, are in Pakistan. Further the Taliban was the baby of Pakistan’s ISI agency and to this day a number of high ranking officials are deeply attached to the organization. And possibly Tajikistan aside, I think Pakistan is currently just a little more caught up in the crisis of rising Islamic fundamentalism. Or at least, I get that impression.

So I think Pakistan is a little more unstable from that point of view, but it’s still the best choice for military operations.

  • Tamerlane