“Shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration was debating how to force bin Laden out of Afghanistan. At a Sept. 10, 2001, meeting of second-tier Cabinet officials, officials settled on a three-phase strategy. The first step called for dispatching an envoy to talk to the Taliban. If this failed, diplomatic pressure would be applied and covert funding and support for anti-Taliban fighters would be increased. If both failed, ‘the deputies agreed that the United States would seek to overthrow the Taliban regime through more direct action,’ the report said. Deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley said the strategy had a three-year timeframe.”

 – Hope Yen, “Panel: U.S. Had Plan to Overthrow Taliban,” Associated Press, March 23, 2004