A Taliban spokesman claimed Wednesday that there is "no evidence" that Osama bin Laden was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, despite overwhelming evidence linking the late al Qaeda leader to the planning of the incident.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, made the claim in response to a question about whether the country will again become grounds for terrorism organizations as U.S. forces prepare to carry out President Joe Biden's planned troop withdrawal by Aug. 31.
"When Osama bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan. Although there was no proof he was involved. Now we have given promises that Afghan soil won't be used against anyone," Mujahid told NBC News's Richard Engel.
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) August 25, 2021
Engel later repeated his inquiry, adding, "It sounds like, even now, after all this, you're accepting no responsibility."
Mujahid repeated his claim, saying that "there is no evidence" bin Laden was behind the attacks.
"There was no justification for this war. It was excuse for war," he continued, adding the days of planned troop withdrawal are "our happiest moments."
In a recorded message released in 2004, bin Laden admitted he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks in which 19 plane hijackers took over four U.S. commercial aircraft and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia. The fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted against the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people, including the 19 hijackers, died in the attacks.
The United States will still withdraw troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, a self-imposed deadline issued by Biden that he has stuck to despite pressure from officials to shift the timeline following the Taliban's takeover on Aug. 15.
To date, approximately 4,500 U.S. citizens have been evacuated from Kabul, and roughly 1,500 remain, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a Wednesday press conference.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese