JEDDAH, 4 November — Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former director of Saudi intelligence, said yesterday that there was enough proof against Osama Bin Laden to convict him of the terrorist attacks in the US. "The religious edicts (fatwas) issued by him are the main evidence because they call for attacking American soldiers and civilians."
In an interview with Arab News and MBC television, Prince Turki, who has 25 years’ experience dealing with Afghanistan, said Bin Laden had also declared on television that every American taxpayer was a target. "Only those people devoid of feelings will still ask for evidence." (The first of the six-part interview appears on Page 11)
Prince Turki said that Taleban leader Mulla Omar accepted in June 1998 an official Saudi request to extradite Bin Laden to the Kingdom, but he changed his mind three months later following the attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
He said he visited the Taleban stronghold of Kandahar twice in June and September 1998 on instructions from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard.
"Mulla Omar agreed to extradite Bin Laden and said it was our duty to be with you, but asked for a joint committee to be formed to arrange for the handover..." A Taleban adviser visited Riyadh in July to inform King Fahd and Prince Abdullah of the Taleban’s consent. Prince Turki hoped that the latest turn of events in Afghanistan would result in an improvement in the lives of its long-suffering people.
He supported the security measures taken by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. "The parties which carried out protest rallies represented only 10 percent of the Pakistani people," he said.
He pointed out the big difference between the Soviet and US military campaigns in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union wanted to occupy the country unlike the United States which has no such designs, he said.
He was very critical of the US political analysts who allege that Saudi Arabia breeds terrorists. No one should try to tarnish the image of a country because of what a small number of its citizens may have done, he said.