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November 8, 2001
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Ban statements by US diplomats too: Taleban to Pakistan

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Reacting strongly to curbs imposed against him by the Pakistan government desisting him from holding press briefings, Taleban Ambassador to Islamabad Abdul Saleem Zaeef has said US missions should also be asked to stop using 'foul language' against Afghanistan.

He also said that Pakistan was under tremendous pressure from the US to limit the militia's activities

Zaeef said Pakistan should not apply different standards to the Taleban and US diplomats, and the Pakistani move to end his press conferences was unfair.

"If we are banned, US should also be banned. We only presented our story of victimisation to the world. We were getting sympathies of the world and chances of peace were increasing," he said.

"Why is the United States an exception?" Zaeef asked, pointing out that the US consulate in Peshawar has been allowed to issue a daily bulletin in Pushtu using 'foul language' against the Taleban.

He alleged the US consulate used 'indecent' and highly objectionable language, where as he never used such language against the Americans. He said he was not concerned with the UN charter and diplomatic norms, but only wanted to show the world the kind of 'barbarism' being unleashed on Afghanistan.

"We were not committing any aggression in these briefings, but were just telling our side of the story," he said.

He said from now on the Taleban would hold press conferences inside Afghanistan.

Referring to scope of talks with US to end the war, he said, "We are ready to talk on all issues with everyone, but if they want to force their arrogance on us and the Islamic world, then we are not ready. How could we violate Islamic principles and hand over Osama without any proof. We were not given any proof and war was thrust on us."

He said his government will never hand over bin Laden and would fight America 'if necessary for 100 years'.

Related Report:
Pakistan asks Taleban to close Karachi consulate: Report

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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