Declassified documents reveal the U.S. State Department held secret meetings with top Taleban officials in 1998 and discussed assassinating or expelling al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan.
Documents declassified Thursday show diplomatic efforts between Washington and the Taleban rulers took place a few months after deadly terrorist bombings at U.S. Embassies in Africa. That also places the meetings nearly three years before the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
The documents show that a diplomat from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan met with a top aide to Taleban leader Mullah Omar twice in late 1998. During the meetings, the aide suggested the U.S. either kill or arrange for Osama bin Laden to be assassinated.
The aide expressed concern that the Afghan people would reject the Taleban if it expelled the al-Qaida leader and allowed him to be turned him over to the Americans.
A U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taleban in October 2001.
Some information for this report provided by AP.