- 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
- Here are relevant excerpts from the Rabbani
- 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.
this is incomprehensible to me.
- Q: You mean, you doubt, that
the guilty party in the American tragedy of the 21st Century was bin
- 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