Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday has claimed there is no evidence that the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was responsible for the US 9/11 terror attacks.
During an interview with NBC Nightly News, Mujahid made the claim as the August 31 deadline for the final withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan approaches.
Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, which prompted the invasion of the US in Afghanistan in 2001. However, at first he denied involvement but later appeared to claim responsibility.
“When Osama Bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan,” Mujahid said.
He said, “Although there was no proof he was involved, now we have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone. Even after 20 years of war, we have no proof he was involved. There is no evidence.”
Pressing the Taliban spokesman about the matter, NBC’s Richard Engel asked him, “So it sounds like, even now, after all this, you’re accepting no responsibility?”
“There was no justification for this war, it was excuse for war,” Mujahid replied.
When asked about the US leaving Afghanistan, Mujahid said the withdrawal is almost finished and these are our happiest moments.
The 9/11 Commission report, however concluded that the “9/11 attack was driven by Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Ladin.”
The commission report made clear reference to Al-Qaeda’s connection with the Taliban and its former leader, Mullah Omar, “As final preparations were under way during the summer of 2001, dissent emerged among al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan over whether to proceed,” the report said.
The report further said that Mullah Omar opposed attacking the US. Although facing opposition from many of his senior lieutenants, Bin Ladin effectively overruled their objectionsa and the attacks went forward.
Meanwhile, Bin Laden in 2004, appeared to admit to his role in organizing 9/11 in videotaped remarks.
“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.
Referencing to the 1982 Lebanon War, he further 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.”
While the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, the group was sheltering the Al Qaeda leader in 2001 and US invasion was carried out in order to catch Bin Laden and prevent the country from being used as a base to attack America.