- KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The man the United States has declared its
No. 1 enemy is "a man without sin," Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic
Taliban militia declared Friday in closing its case against Osama bin
- A three-week inquiry headed by Afghanistan's
Chief Justice Noor Mohammed Saqib into allegations that bin Laden is waging
a war of terror against the United States ended Friday.
- "It's over and America has not presented
any evidence," Saqib told The Associated Press in an interview at
the Supreme Court building in the Afghan capital.
- "Without any evidence, bin Laden
is a man without sin. ...He is a free man," he said. Bin Laden has
been living in Afghanistan for years with the permission of the Taliban,
who control most of the country.
- A U.S. court has indicted bin Laden in
connection with the Aug. 7 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa
that killed 224 people.
- Two weeks ago, Washington offered a $5
million reward for the capture of bin Laden, something the Taliban said
was tantamount to encouraging terrorist activity inside their war-shattered
- Saqib said he waited in vain in his cavernous
office, stark but for an ornately carved wooden desk and a bright bouquet
of plastic flowers, for American officials to provide evidence of bin Laden's
involvement in terrorist activity.
- "It is their shame that they have
been silent," said Saqib. "Anything that happens now anywhere
in the world they blame Osama, but the reality is in the proof -- and they
have not given us any."
- Bin Laden, a Saudi billionaire who was
thrown out of his homeland for advocating the ouster of the Saudi royal
family, is believed by the United states to be using bases in Afghanistan
to train and finance Islamic terrorist groups worldwide that target U.S.
interests and U.S. citizens.
- In August, the United States launched
a missile attack on eastern Afghanistan against suspected terrorist training
camps. Twenty-six people were killed; bin Laden was unhurt.
- The Taliban have refused to hand over
bin Laden to the United States, saying even more Tomahawk cruise missiles
would not persuade them to do so. Taliban commanders who know bin Laden
say he is living in mountain camps outside the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar
along with his three wives, children and a handful of bodyguards.
- Bin Laden first came to Afghanistan in
the 1980s, enraged by the Soviet invasion of the Islamic country. He fought
alongside anti-communist Afghan guerrillas that the United States also
- After the war, he returned home and then
moved to Sudan. The Saudi government, fearing his brand of militant Islam,
stripped him of his citizenship in April 1994. With Western pressure mounting
on Sudan, he was forced to leave in 1995 and returned to Afghanistan.
- Bin Laden's self-declared war against
the United States began after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protest the
presence of U.S troops in Saudi Arabia, home to two of Islam's holiest
sites, Mecca and Medina.