04.09.1996: AFGHANISTAN: WHEREABOUTS OF EXTREMIST SUPPORTER OSAMA BIN LADEN



C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 183372

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/06 TAGS: PTER, PREL, SA, AF SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: WHEREABOUTS OF EXTREMIST SUPPORTER OSAMA BIN LADEN

ROME FOR STORELLA, LONDON FOR TUELLER, PARIS FOR RAVELING, NAIROBI FOR AMB. CARNEY

1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY LEE 0. COLDREN, DIRECTOR, SA/PAB, DEPARTMENT OF STATE. REASON: 1.5(D).

2. (C) SUMMARY: OSAMA BIN LADEN ASKED THE NANGARHAR SHURA FOR PERMISSION TO REMAIN IN THE EASTERN PROVINCES OF AFGHANISTAN, ACCORDING TO (text removed by Aftenposten) VISITING THE U.S. AFTER DELIBERATIONS IN LATE JULY-EARLY AUGUST, THE SHURA DECIDED THAT BIN LADEN WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO LIVE IN OR WORK IN TERRITORY UNDER ITS CONTROL. BIN LADEN THEN LEFT FOR KABUL WHERE HE REPORTEDLY STILL REMAINS. END SUMMARY.

3. (C) (text removed by Aftenposten) OFFICIALS IN THE NANGARHAR SHURA OPPOSED TERRORISM AND THE USE OF AFGHAN TERRITORY FOR PURPOSES OF TERRORISM. AS AN ILLUSTRATION, HE SAID, AN ARAB HAD CAME TO NANGARHAR IN LATE JULY WITH EXPLOSIVES. HE SAID THAT THE ARAB WAS LOOKING FOR SUPPORT AMONG AFGHANS FOR HIS INTENDED TERRORIST ACTIVITIES. HOWEVER, HE DID NOT RECEIVE ANY SUPPORT. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ARAB WAS KILLED, APPARENTLY BY ONE OF HIS OWN BOMBS.

4. (C) WHEN ASKED ABOUT REPORTS THAT OSAMA BIN LADEN HAD MOVED TO AFGHANISTAN, COMMANDER (text removed by Aftenposten) CONFIRMED BIN LADENS PRESENCE. (text removed by Aftenposten) SAID THAT BIN LADEN HAD SENT A REPRESENTATIVE TO JALALABAD TO ASK THE NANGARHAR SHURA (COUNCIL) FOR SAFEHAVEN FOR BIN LADEN. THE COUNCIL MET IN LATE JULY-EARLY AUGUST; IT DECIDED THAT BIN LADEN WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WORK OR LIVE IN THEIR TERRITORY. (text removed by Aftenposten) SAID THAT HE HAD HEARD THAT BIN LADEN THEN WENT TO KABUL WHERE HE REMAINS. (COMMENT: BIN LADEN HAS HAD A LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH NOW PRIME MINISTER HEKMATYAR. END COMMENT.)

5. (C) WHEN ASKED ABOUT BIN LADENS ARAB FOLLOWERS, (text removed by Aftenposten) SAID THAT THEY WERE NOT IN NANGARHAR, BUT IN SAROBI (HEKMATYARS STRONGHOLD). HE SAID NANGARHAR OFFICIALS WILL NOT ALLOW "THESE PEOPLE" TO LIVE IN THE EASTERN PROVINCES. (text removed by Aftenposten) SAID THAT AFGHANS WERE ALREADY LIVING IN AN "EMERGENCY SITUATION" AND DID NOT NEED MORE PROBLEMS. HE RECOUNTED A RUMOR THAT SOME ARABS HAD MOVED TO PAGHMAN IN ORDER TO BE NEARER THE KABUL AUTHORITIES, HELP THEM WITH FOOD SUPPLIES, AND OTHERWISE EASE THEIR BURDEN. (COMMENT: KABUL HAS BEEN UNDER SEIGE BY THE TALL BAN SINCE LAST OCTOBER. JUST TWO DAYS AGO, THE ROAD TO MAIDAN SHAHR WAS CUT DUE TO FIGHTING BETWEEN PRO-KABUL TROOPS AND THE TALIBAN. THE ROAD IS A MAJOR ARTERY FOR FOODSTUFFS, FUEL, LIVESTOCK AND OTHER NECESSITIES REACHING KABUL. END COMMENT.)

6. (C) BIO NOTE: COMMANDER (text removed by Aftenposten) IS A RESPECTED TRIBAL LEADER AND MEMBER OF (text removed by Aftenposten) COUNCIL. HE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF (text removed by Aftenposten) FACTION. AVOWEDLY PRO-U.S., HE HAS MADE HIS FIRST TRIP TO THE U.S. (text removed by Aftenposten). WE BELIEVE HIM TO BE A CREDIBLE SOURCE. HE DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.

TALBOTT


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