US 'planned attack on Taleban'
The wider objective was to oust the
By the BBC's George Arney
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.
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
said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact
group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.
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 Omar.
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.
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
told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that 17,000
Russian troops were on standby.
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.
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
said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were
to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban