Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban army issued Tuesday unspecified threats against the United States if economic sanctions are imposed for its refusal to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List for allegedly masterminding attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa. Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s ruling leader, warned in a letter of “surprises” if the UN sanctions were carried out, attacking the U.S. for rejecting Taliban bids of arbitration on the issue of bin Laden.
Omar directed his remarks at U.S. citizens urging them to intercede with the U.S. government to stop the economic sanctions. “If you do not take a step in this direction then you will be surprised about what is coming to you and you will not be able to do anything about it,” warned Omar in the letter. These statements mark the Taliban’s first threat against America since they came to power in 1996.
Neither the United States nor the United Nations has recognized the Taliban regime as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The Taliban militia has imposed a strict system of gender apartheid against all women living in areas controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban’s edicts, which have been brutally enforced, banish most women from the work force, closed schools to girls and expelled women from universities, and prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.