In September, 1996, as the Taliban cemented its control over Afghanistan and began its reign of terror in Kabul, the U.S. State Department sent several pages of memos spelling outs its desire to open good relations with the Talibs. They reveal a timid and naive powder-puff tone toward one of the most vicious regimes in history. Although some language indicates suspicions of the Talibs, the overall softness and phrases of encouragement seem quite inappropriate for the already well-demonstrated despotism of the Taliban regime.
Phrases in the document include:
"WE ARE NOT RENEWING VISAS OF AFGHAN DIPLOMATS CURRENTLY IN THE U.S. WE ARE TAKING STEPS TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF THE AFGHAN MISSIONS IN WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK."
"WE WERE DISMAYED BY THE VIOLATION OF UN PREMISES WHEN
YOUR FORCES ENTERED KABUL AND BY THE SUMMARY EXECUTION OF
FORMER PRESIDENT NAJIBULLAH" (just "dismayed" by a physical attack on the UN compound, murder of several guards, then murder and mutilation of Najibullah, including hanging of his body for several days from a public street light?—ed.)
then... THE UN SPECIAL MISSION CAN ALSO PLAY A ROLE IN ASSISTING
YOUR TASK OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION. HOW DO YOU SEE THEIR
ROLE AT THIS TIME? (so, after the invasion of the UN embassy there is a question about their role?—ed.)
DO YOU KNOW THE LOCATION OF EX-SAUDI FINANCIER AND
RADICAL ISLAMIST OSAMA BIN LADEN? WE HAD HEARD PREVIOUSLY
THAT HE WAS IN THE EASTERN PROVINCES. HIS CONTINUED
PRESENCE HERE WOULD NOT, WE BELIEVE, SERVE AFGHANISTAN’S
WE WELCOMED YOUR ASSURANCES THAT YOU WERE CLOSING THE
TERRORIST AND MILITANT TRAINING CAMPS FORMERLY RUN BY
HEKMATYAR, SAYYAF OR ARAB GROUPS. CAN YOU TELL US THE
CURRENT STATUS OF THOSE CAMPS? (interesting to note here that Sayyaf is currently a member of the Afghan parliament— so former terrorist trainers are in parliament? Why hasn’t a truth commission investigated alleged war crimes by current Afghan government officials?—ed.)
Kabulpress thanks Hakeem Naim, Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley for supplying this document.