964. 9/28/1996

Regarding the Taliban, the State Department’s “diplomats hoped to appease Kabul’s new rulers. ‘We wish to engage the new Taliban ‘interim government’ at an early stage,’ declared a classified instructions cable sent from Washington to embassies abroad on September 28 [1996]. In official meetings with the Taliban, American diplomats should strive to ‘demonstrate [American] willingness to deal with them as the new authorities in Kabul; seek information about their plans, programs, and policies; and express [U.S. government] views on areas of key concern to us–stability, human rights, narcotics, and terrorism.’ Bin Laden ranked last on the cable’s more detailed list of issues for discussion.”

 – Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Pages 334-335

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