US embassy cable - 96ISLAMABAD8679 (original version)

AFGHANISTAN: BIN LADEN REPORTEDLY IN JALALABAD (original version)

Identifier: 96ISLAMABAD8679
Wikileaks: View 96ISLAMABAD8679 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Islamabad
Created: 1996-10-14 06:21:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER PGOV MOPS KISL AF
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
O 140621Z OCT 96
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2509
INFO AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 
AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 
AMEMBASSY BONN 
AMEMBASSY ANKARA 
DIA WASHDC
AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 
AMEMBASSY ALMATY 
AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMEMBASSY RIYADH 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USIA WASHDC 5978
C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD 008679 
 
 
DEPT FOR SA/PAB, S/CT, AND EUR/CEN; USIA FOR NEA; LONDON 
FOR POL - TUELLER; PARIS FOR POL - RAVELING; ROME FOR 
POL - NDEMPSEY 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  10/14/96 
TAGS:  PTER, PGOV, MOPS, KISL, AF 
SUBJECT:  AFGHANISTAN:  BIN LADEN REPORTEDLY IN JALALABAD 
 
1.  (U) CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL COUNSELOR TOM PRICE. 
REASON: 1.5 (D). 
 
2.  (C) SUMMARY:  AN AFGHAN BUSINESSMAN WITH CLOSE TIES 
TO THE TALIBAN TOLD POLOFF AND THE ASSISTANT ARMY 
ATTACHE THAT SAUDI FINANCIER BIN LADEN IS "UNDER TALIBAN 
CONTROL" IN JALALABAD.  THE AFGHAN CHARGE IN ISLAMABAD 
SAID THAT BIN LADEN'S WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN, ALTHOUGH 
HE "COULD BE RECEIVING SHELTER SOMEWHERE IN 
AFGHANISTAN."  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  (C) ABDUL BAQI, AN AFGHAN BUSINESSMAN WITH CLOSE 
TIES TO THE TALIBAN, TOLD POLOFF AND THE ASSISTANT ARMY 
ATTACHE (AARMA) ON OCTOBER 11 THAT FUGITIVE SAUDI 
FINANCIER OSAMA BIN LADEN IS IN JALALABAD "UNDER TALIBAN 
CONTROL."  BAQI SAID THAT HE HAD HEARD THIS FROM A 
TALIBAN SOURCE IN JALALABAD "TEN DAYS AGO" WHO HAD 
"PERSONALLY" SEEN BIN LADEN.  BAQI ADDED THAT BIN LADEN 
IS BEING "SHELTERED" IN COMMANDER YUNIS KHALIS' COMPOUND 
IN JALALABAD.  KHALIS IS ALSO PROVIDING SHELTER TO A 
NUMBER OF OTHER "ARABS," ACCORDING TO BAQI.  ASKED IF HE 
THOUGHT THAT BIN LADEN WAS STILL IN JALALABAD, BAQI SAID 
THAT HE FELT THAT HE STILL IS. 
 
4.  (C) BAQI STRESSED THAT THE TALIBAN ARE "NOT AT ALL 
FRIENDLY" TOWARD BIN LADEN AND THE OTHER "ARABS."  HE 
ASSERTED THAT BIN LADEN WAS NOT "FREE TO COME AND GO AS 
HE PLEASED" AND THAT THE TALIBAN WOULD NOT "ALLOW HIM TO 
PLAN TERRORIST ATTACKS" WHILE HE IS UNDER THEIR 
CONTROL.  BAQI NOTED THAT THE TALIBAN HAVE NOT DECIDED 
WHAT TO DO WITH BIN LADEN AND THE OTHER "ARABS." 
 
5.  (C) IN A CONVERSATION WITH POLOFF AND AARMA ON 
OCTOBER 13, AFGHAN CHARGE ABDUL WAHAB AVERRED THAT HE IS 
"UNAWARE OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF BIN LADEN, ALTHOUGH HE 
COULD BE RECEIVING SHELTER SOMEWHERE IN AFGHANISTAN." 
WAHAB, WHO IS A MEMBER OF KHALIS' POLITICAL PARTY, 
HIZB-I-ISLAMI (KHALIS), ADDED THAT IT IS "PART OF AFGHAN 
CUSTOM TO OFFER HOSPITALITY AND REFUGE TO STRANGERS, BUT 
TERRORIST ACTIVITIES WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED BY THE 
TALIBAN."  ASKED ABOUT THE WHEREABOUTS OF YUNIS KHALIS, 
WAHAB SAID THAT HE IS AT HIS HOME IN JALALABAD. 
 
6.  (C) BOTH POLOFF AND AARMA TOLD WAHAB TO URGE THE 
TALIBAN NOT TO PROVIDE ANY FORM OF "SAFE HAVEN" TO 
TERRORISTS.  IN ADDITION, POLOFF AND AARMA EMPHASIZED 
THAT IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE TALIBAN TELL OSAMA BIN 
LADEN THAT HIS PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN IS NOT WANTED. 
 
7.  (C) COMMENT:  WE CANNOT VERIFY BAQI'S ASSERTION THAT 
BIN LADEN IS IN JALALABAD.  HOWEVER, IT SEEMS POSSIBLE 
THAT BIN LADEN AND OTHER ARABS WERE SWEPT UP IN THE 
CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE RAPID TALIBAN ADVANCE LAST 
MONTH, AND ARE NOW IN AREAS CONTROLLED BY THE TALIBAN. 
 
 
SIMONS 

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