The Taliban are still staunchly defending late terrorist Osama bin Laden — refusing to accept his role in the cowardly killing of nearly 3,000 defenseless people on Sept. 11, 2001.
The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, responded with a large eye roll when NBC News‘ Richard Engel pointed out that the Afghan “war started when Osama bin Laden, as a guest of the Taliban, organized 9/11.”
“There is no evidence. Even after 20 years of war, we have no proof he was involved,” Mujahid insisted of bin Laden, who personally bragged about orchestrating the plane attacks.
“When Osama bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan,” he said casually when asked for assurances that Afghanistan would “never again be a base for terrorism.”
“Although there was no proof he was involved, now we have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone,” said Mujahid, who was surrounded by enforcers brandishing assault rifles as he gave one of his first-ever on-camera interviews with Western media.
He was pressed further by Engel, who noted that “it sounds like, even now, after all this,” the Taliban were “accepting no responsibility” for harboring the al Qaeda killer.
“There was no justification for this war. It was excuse for war,” the Islamic militant group’s chief talking head claimed.
Bin Laden himself took credit for the attacks in a 2004 video rant warning that the US was not safe from “another Manhattan.” He was killed in a raid by US Navy SEALs in 2011.
“God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it,” bin Laden said.
“As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”
The invasion of Afghanistan was ordered by President George W. Bush after the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden and dismantle terrorist training camps.
“The withdrawal is almost finished,” Mujahid told Engel. “These are our happiest moments.”
World leaders fear that the Taliban will once again harbor terrorists, including al Qaeda. The United Nations has warned that the two Islamic groups “remain closely aligned and show no indication of breaking ties.”