U.S. already finalized plans to attack Afghanistan BEFORE WTC att ack

Austin, Andrew austina at uwgb.edu
Tue Sep 18 20:50:08 MDT 2001

Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
US 'planned attack on Taleban'

The wider objective was to oust the Taleban

By the BBC's George Arney

A former Pakistani diplomat has told the BBC that the US was planning
military action against Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban even before last
week's attacks.

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American
officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go
ahead by the middle of October.

Russian troops were on standby

Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored
international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.

Mr Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told him
that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take military
action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taleban leader, Mullah

The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the Taleban
regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its
place - possibly under the leadership of the former Afghan King Zahir Shah.

Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in
Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place.

Bin Laden would have been "killed or captured"

He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that
17,000 Russian troops were on standby.

Mr Naik was told that if the military action went ahead it would take place
before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at
the latest.

He said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings
this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented
within two or three weeks.

And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin
Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.

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