Tags: How | Clinton | Shielded | Afghanistan

How Clinton Shielded Afghanistan

Monday, 17 September 2001 12:00 AM

During his presidency, Clinton consistently kept Taliban-controlled Afghanistan off his State Department's annually updated list of regimes that harbor and abet terrorist organizations, such as that run by Osama bin Laden, the world's most-wanted terrorist whose safe haven has for years been the badlands of Afghanistan.

The No. 1 suspect behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon was long known to be hiding out in Afghanistan with relative freedom. Indeed, during his tenure as president, Clinton had some of bin Laden’s training camps bombed, but not very seriously.

Even that didn't qualify Afghanistan as the sanctuary of a major terrorist operation in the eyes of the Clinton-Gore administration.

The most-recent annual State Department report, issued in the final year of the Clinton-Gore administration, failed to list Afghanistan, despite the known coddling of bin Laden by the Taliban militant Islamic movement, which is the actual ruling power in the Afghan government.

According to Cable News Network last year, "In regards to Afghanistan, the State Department says it is a threat because it continues to shelter [bin Laden]…"

Notwithstanding, Afghanistan wasn't put on the "rogue state" list, along with communist Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, communist North Korea, Sudan or Syria.

The Clinton-Gore State Department "does not believe [either Afghanistan or neighboring Pakistan] is actually sponsoring terrorist acts," CNN reported.

"In general, sources tell CNN, the State Department believes that state-sponsored terrorism, as a whole, is less of a concern."

At that same time, ABC News said that the Clinton-Gore administration "does not recognize Afghanistan's Taliban rulers as its legitimate government, and so cannot formally sanction them."

The State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism has remained static for the past three years with just the current seven countries identified.

The department defines terrorism as "pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."

The official State Department attitude has obviously changed under the Bush-Cheney administration. After the Sept. 11 assaults, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned the Afghan government that if the Taliban does not hand over bin Laden, dire consequences will follow for Afghanistan.

Powell's attitude toward another world-renowned marionette of terrorists, Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein, also is more severe than that of his predecessor, Madeleine K. Albright.

At a news conference two days after the terrorist attacks, Powell was asked: "Of all of the seven countries on the State Department's state sponsors list, only one of them, I believe, has not condemned [the attacks], has not said anything. Does it raise any red flags with you that Saddam Hussein and Iraq have been silent about this?"

To which Powell replied: "I am not surprised. He is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth, and I would not expect the slightest drop of the milk of human kindness to be flowing in his veins."

The State Department might wish to consider tacking up a sign over its front door down in Foggy Bottom: "Under New Management."

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During his presidency, Clinton consistently kept Taliban-controlled Afghanistan off his State Department's annually updated list of regimes that harbor and abet terrorist organizations, such as that run by Osama bin Laden, the world's most-wanted terrorist whose safe haven...
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2001-00-17
Monday, 17 September 2001 12:00 AM
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