Former Afghan President Doubts Osama Behind 9-11 In a rare interview granted to the Russian daily Izvestia on April 14 and published today, the leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Burhanuddin Rabbani, dismissed Osama bin Laden as a "small fish," who could not possibly have organized the attack, and called for a major investigation of the events of Sept. 11.
Rabbani's statement is notable against the background of the latest media hype around bin Laden, that began with the convenient surfacing of a new video allegedly confirming bin Laden's authorship of the attack.
Here are relevant excerpts from the Rabbani interview:
Q: Are Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar still alive? If so, where are they now?
RABBANI: Their fate doesn't interest me. They are very small fish.
Q: But they destroyed the peace of the whole world.
RABBANI: It interests me very much, to know, how such a complex, multilayered, painstakingly planned and technically masterfully organized terrorist operation, as the attack on the U.S.A. on Sept. 11, could have been organized and carried out by a small group of bandits, sitting in uninhabited Afghan mountains. Personally this is incomprehensible to me.
Q: You mean, you doubt, that the guilty party in the American tragedy of the 21st Century was bin Laden?
RABBANI: And don't you doubt it, too? A big investigation is absolutely necessary. Of course, anything is possible. I never met bin Laden, but people have come to me, who sat at the same table with him, and observed him in various situations.
Not a single one of these told me that bin Laden is a great personality. On the contrary, all who knew him spoke of him as a simple field commander. Bin Laden sat for a long time in the caves. One does not control the world from such a place.
Q: Is it possible, that other people were behind bin Laden? And are behind him now?
RABBANI: Without a doubt. And I would like to know who exactly.
[Izvestia, April 15, 2002]
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