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DATE=11/9/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-S / AFGHANISTAN (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255995 BYLINE=KYLE KING DATELINE=STATE DEPARTMENT CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says a letter to the American people written by Afghanistan's top Taleban leader is based on a misunderstanding that he has. The letter emerged just days before U-N sanctions are to be imposed on the Taleban for harboring terror suspect Osama Bin Laden. From the State Department, VOA's Kyle King reports. TEXT: The letter written by Taleban leader, Mullah Omar, urges the American public to pressure the U-S government to halt what Mullah Omar calls hostile actions against the Afghan people. The letter says the United States will be punished by god if it continues its campaign against the Taleban, which controls about 90 percent of Afghanistan. Secretary of State Albright said the United States has no quarrel with the Afghan people. /// ALBRIGHT ACT /// I think the letter is based on a misunderstanding that he has. We have nothing against the Afghan people. We have something against the Taliban that is suppressing its people and has some of the most backward kinds of policies, in terms of the way it deals with its people, and women in particular. /// END ACT /// The letter by the Taleban leader comes just days before the November 14th deadline to expel Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of last year's deadly U-S Embassy bombings in Africa. If Mr. Bin Laden is not turned over to another country where he can be put on trial, sanctions will go into effect against Taleban. Secretary of State Albright says the United States is concerned that the Taleban is providing a sanctuary for Mr. Bin Laden. /// ALBRIGHT ACT TWO /// But we are also extremely concerned about the fact that they continue to have in their midst Osama Bin Laden, who is a threat to the American people. That is what this is about. And I think the American people understand that this is a considerable threat and it is important for the Untied States to have taken the action that we have on the sanctions issue. /// END ACT /// U-S officials describe Mullah Omar's letter as threatening and provocative, but they say they will persist in their efforts to bring Mr. Osama Bin Laden to justice. (Signed) NEB/KBK/TVM/PT 09-Nov-1999 18:23 PM EDT (09-Nov-1999 2323 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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