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843    9/19/1996 12:41    96ISLAMABAD8055    Embassy Islamabad    CONFIDENTIAL    96ISLAMABAD7813    "O 191241Z SEP 96 FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2061 INFO AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY USMISSION USUN NEW YORK AMEMBASSY TASHKENT AMEMBASSY LONDON AMEMBASSY PARIS AMEMBASSY ROME AMEMBASSY MOSCOW AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI AMEMBASSY BISHKEK AMEMBASSY ALMATY AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE AMEMBASSY BONN DIA WASHDC AMEMBASSY ANKARA USIA WASHDC 5810 AMEMBASSY RIYADH "    "C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD 008055

DEPT FOR SA/PAB, S/CT, AND EUR/CEN; USIA FOR NEA; LONDON FOR POL - TUELLER; PARIS FOR POL - ALLEGRONE; ROME FOR POL - NDEMPSEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/19/06 TAGS: PTER, PGOV, MOPS, KISL, PREL, PK, AF SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN: TALIBAN ASSERTS “ARABS” HAVE FLED TRAINING CAMPS; BIN LADEN'S WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN

REF: ISLAMABAD 7813

1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL COUNSELOR TOM PRICE. REASON: 1.5 (D).

2. (C) SUMMARY: THE TALIBAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN AFFAIR'S ADVISER TOLD POLOFF AND AARMA ON SEPTEMBER 18 THAT THE TALIBAN HAD SEIZED HEKMATYAR/SAYYAF TRAINING CAMPS IN PAKTIA PROVINCE. HE NOTED THAT THE “ARAB” OCCUPANTS OF THE CAMPS HAD FLED, AND HE DID NOT KNOW THE WHEREABOUTS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN. SEPTEMBER 19 PRESS REPORTS STATE THAT 107 “PAKISTANIS” RECEIVING MILITARY TRAINING IN THE KHOST AREA OF AFGHANISTAN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AFTER ENTERING PAKISTAN. END SUMMARY.

3. (C) IN A MEETING WITH POLOFF AND AARMA ON SEPTEMBER 18, MULLAH ABDUL JALIL, THE TALIBAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN AFFAIR'S ADVISER, SAID THE TALIBAN CAPTURED TRAINING CAMPS RUN BY THE HEKMATYAR AND SAYYAF FACTIONS DURING THEIR SEIZURE OF PAKTIA PROVINCE IN LATE AUGUST AND EARLY SEPTEMBER. HE ASSERTED THAT THE CAMPS CONTAINED LARGE AMOUNTS OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES.

4. (C) JALIL CLAIMED THAT ALL OF THE “ARABS” BEING TRAINED IN THESE CAMPS HAVE FLED TO AREAS CONTROLLED BY THE KABUL REGIME. ASKED ABOUT THE WHEREABOUTS OF SAUDI FINANCIER OSAMA BIN LADEN, HE RESPONDED THAT HE DID NOT KNOW, BUT HE WAS NOT IN AREAS CONTROLLED BY THE TALIBAN.

5. (C) POLOFF AND AARMA URGED JALIL TO ENSURE THAT THE TALIBAN TAKES MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT THESE CAMPS ARE NOT REACTIVATED AND THAT NO FORM OF “SAFE HAVEN” IS EXTENDED TO TERRORISTS. IN ADDITION, POLOFF AND AARMA EMPHASIZED THAT IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE TALIBAN PUT OUT THE WORD THAT OSAMA BIN LADEN'S PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN IS NOT WANTED. JALIL REPLIED THAT THE TALIBAN DID NOT SUPPORT TERRORISM IN ANY FORM AND WOULD NOT PROVIDE REFUGE TO OSAMA BIN LADEN.

6. (C) SEPTEMBER 19 PAKISTANI PRESS REPORTS STATE THAT “AS MANY AS 107 PAKISTANIS WHO WERE RECEIVING MILITARY TRAINING AT TWO CAMPS IN AFGHANISTAN'S KHOST PROVINCE WERE CAUGHT ON THE PAKISTAN-AFGHAN BORDER WHILE RETURNING HOME AFTER THE SEIZURE OF THEIR CAMPS BY THE TALIBAN.” ACCORDING TO THE ARTICLES, THE GOP BORDER FORCES TOOK THOSE ARRESTED TO DERA ISMAIL KHAN PRISON IN NORTH WAZIRSTAN AGENCY.

7. (C) COMMENT: JALIL MADE ALL THE RIGHT SOUNDS CONCERNING TERRORISM, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DRIVE COUNTERTERRORISM POINTS HOME IN DISCUSSIONS WITH THE TALIBAN. WE HAVE NO INDEPENDENT CONFIRMATION OF THE PAKISTANI PRESS REPORTS CITED IN PARA FIVE, BUT INTERIOR MINISTER BABAR TOLD THE DCM ON SEPTEMBER 12 THAT HE HAD ISSUED AN ORDER TO GOP BORDER FORCES TO ARREST TERRORISTS IF THEY TRIED TO ENTER PAKISTAN (REFTEL).

SIMONS