U.S. Refusal of 2001 Taliban Offer Gave bin Laden a Free Pass
By Gareth Porter*
“You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him,” Bush said of bin Laden at a Mar. 13, 2002 press conference.
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2011 (IPS) – When George W. Bush rejected a Taliban offer to have Osama bin Laden tried by a moderate group of Islamic states in mid- October 2001, he gave up the only opportunity the United States would have to end bin Laden’s terrorist career for the next nine years.
The al Qaeda leader was able to escape into Pakistan a few weeks later, because the Bush administration had no military plan to capture him.
The last Taliban foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, offered at a secret meeting in Islamabad Oct. 15, 2001 to put bin Laden in the custody of theOrganization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), to be tried for the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States,Muttawakil told IPS in an interview in Kabul last year.