It is possible to do it in order to liberate the al

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it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] fromtheir grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable tothreaten any Muslim.”64Thefatwacited three main grievances against the United States. One was thepresence of American troops in the Arabian Peninsula, the second was America’s intention to destroythe Muslim people of Iraq through sanctions, and the third was the U.S. goal of incapacitating theArab states and propping up Israel. Bin Laden accused the United States of plundering Muslim riches,dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning U.S. bases into aspearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.A Dangerous AllianceOf particular concern to U.S. policymakers in the late 1990s was the growing collaboration betweenal Qa’ida and the Taliban. In response to bin Laden’s involvement in the August 1998 attacks againstthe U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the Clinton administration launched a series of cruise-missile strikes against al Qa’ida bases in eastern Afghanistan. But some classified U.S. assessmentssuggest that the attacks brought al Qa’ida and the Taliban closer together.65One State Departmentcable reported: “Taliban leader Mullah Omar lashed out at the U.S., asserting that the Taliban willcontinue to provide a safe haven to bin Laden.”66After all, bin Laden sometimes stayed at MullahOmar’s residence in Kandahar.67In July 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13129, which found that “theactions and policies of the Taliban in Afghanistan, in allowing territory under its control inAfghanistan to be used as a safe haven and base of operations for Usama bin Ladin and the Al-Qa’idaorganization…constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreignpolicy of the United States.”68The Taliban’s military structure included al Qa’ida members such asthe elite Brigade 055, which consisted of foreign fighters.69The Taliban’s alliance with al Qa’idatook a toll on its relations with several countries, especially Saudi Arabia, which had initiallyprovided support to the Taliban through its intelligence service.70Now that the United States had formally denounced al Qa’ida and, by extension, the Taliban, Saudiofficials felt compelled to act. Bin Laden’s involvement in the August 1998 embassy attacks, as wellas his derisive statements against Saudi officials, required an urgent response. On September 19,1998, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal met with with Taliban leader MullahMuhammad Omar. The meeting began with a brief discussion about the strain between the Taliban andIran. Turki argued that the Taliban should take steps to defuse the tensions, then he turned to the maintopic of the meeting: to ask the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden. Mullah Omar replied that theTaliban had no intention of surrendering bin Laden or any other Arabs to the Saudi government. Omar

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