It's Official: Taliban Pose a Danger to the United States
Middle East Quarterly
September 1999, pp. 92-93
On July 4, 1999, President Clinton sent the following letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate, declaring a "national emergency," effective at 12:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 6, 1999, in response to the "unusual and extraordinary threat" posed by the Taliban-dominated government of Afghanistan.
Pursuant to section 204(b) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1703(b) and section 301 of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1631, I hereby report that I have exercised my statutory authority to declare a National emergency with respect to the threat to the United States posed by the actions and policies of the Afghan Taliban and have issued an executive order to deal with this threat.
The actions and policies of the Afghan Taliban pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The Taliban continues to provide safe haven to Usama bin Ladin allowing him and the Al-Qaida organization to operate from Taliban-controlled territory a network of terrorist training camps and to use Afghanistan as a base from which to sponsor terrorist operations against the United States.
Usama bin Ladin and the Al-Qaida organization have been involved in at least two separate attacks against the United States. On August 7, 1998, the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were attacked using powerful explosive truck bombs. The following people have been indicted for criminal activity against the United States in connection with Usama bin Ladin and/or the Al-Qaida organization: Usama bin Ladin, his military commander Muhammed Atef, Wadih El Hage, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Mohammed Sadeek Odeh, Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali, Mustafa Mohammed Fadhil, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Fahid Mohommed Ally Msalam, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Ali Mohammed, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Khaled Al Fawwaz. In addition, bin Ladin and his network are currently planning additional attacks against U.S. interests and nationals.
Since at least 1998 and up to the date of the Executive order, the Taliban has continued to provide bin Ladin with safe haven and security, allowing him the necessary freedom to operate. Repeated efforts by the United States to persuade the Taliban to expel bin Ladin to a third country where he can be brought to justice for his crimes have failed. The United States has also attempted to apply pressure on the Taliban both directly and through frontline states in a position to influence Taliban behavior. Despite these efforts, the Taliban has not only continued, but has also deepened its support for, and its relationship with, Usama bin Ladin and associated terrorist networks.
Accordingly, I have concluded that the actions and policies of the Taliban pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. I have, therefore, exercised my statutory authority and issued an Executive order which … :
- blocks all property and interests in property of the Taliban, … ;
- prohibits any transaction or dealing by United States persons or within the United States in property … ;
- prohibits … any goods, software, technology (including technical data), or services to the territory of Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban or to the Taliban; and
- prohibits the importation into the United States of any goods, software, technology, or services owned or controlled by the Taliban or from the territory of Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban.
The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is directed to authorize commercial sales of agricultural commodities and products, medicine and medical equipment, for civilian end use in the territory of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban under appropriate safeguards to prevent diversion to military, paramilitary, or terrorist end-users or end-use or to political end-use. This order and subsequent licenses will likewise allow humanitarian, diplomatic, and journalistic activities to continue. …
The measures taken in this order will immediately demonstrate to the Taliban the seriousness of our concern over its support for terrorists and terrorist networks, and increase the international isolation of the Taliban. The blocking of the Taliban's property and the other prohibitions imposed under this executive order will further limit the Taliban's ability to facilitate and support terrorists and terrorist networks. It is particularly important for the United States to demonstrate to the Taliban the necessity of conforming to accepted norms of international behavior.
Related Topics: Central Asia, Radical Islam, US policy | September 1999 MEQ
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