1,980. 4/15/2001

"In April 2001, the ISI [Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence] funded the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to hold a three-day International Deoband Conference near Peshawar [Pakistan]. (The Deobandi are a sect of Sunni Islam, among whose adherents are the Taliban and Pakistani extremists who believe in active jihad.) Hundreds of thousands of people attended the meeting, which pledged support to the Taliban. A message from Osama bin Laden was read out in support of [Taliban leader] Mullah [Mohammad] Omar. Western embassies in Islamabad were appalled at the rally, as it was in total defiance of UN sanctions against the Taliban. …By staging such rallies, when all political rallies were banned by the regime, the ISI was sending an unambiguous message to the Americans and the UN: that Pakistan continued to support the Taliban even as the UN attempted to seek an end to the civil war in Afghanistan." [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Ahmed Rashid, Descent Into Chaos, 53

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