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No Amnesty for Taleban, al-Qaida Leaders, says Britain


Britain says the United States has the right to bring Afghan Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to justice.

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, says there should be no amnesty for Mullah Omar and other leaders of the Taleban and the al-Qaida terrorist network. Speaking on British radio, Mr. Straw said it is up to the United States to decide the fate of Mullah Omar. "The crime that was committed on the September 11 was committed on the soil of the United States against citizens of the United States as well as others," he said, "and so how Mullah Omar and any other key associates against whom there is evidence are brought to justice is principally a matter for the United States."

There have been questions about what would happen to Mullah Omar since a deal was struck Thursday for the surrender of the last Taleban stronghold of Kandahar.

Questions also remain about the location of Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks against America. Mr. Straw said the hunt for Osama bin Laden should not overshadow what has been accomplished in Afghanistan. "It was always going to be difficult to find one individual," he said, but the relentless pursuit of Osama bin Laden and his key associates will go on until he is found and brought to justice, or justice brought to him. Meanwhile, we should be celebrating these extraordinary achievements of the military, political, diplomatic, humanitarian coalition against the Taleban and these forces of evil."

Mr. Straw spoke from NATO headquarters in Brussels, where talks are underway on increasing cooperation with Russia. He said closer NATO ties with Russia are needed in the international fight against terrorism.

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