Pipeline or Bin Ladin?
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The story...

The US war against the Taliban was related more to the [Unocal] pipeline project than to 9/11.

Our take...

Not if we're going on the account of the July 2001 Berlin meeting.

Take the supposed American offer, for instance: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs."

First, does that really sound like the language of an American diplomat?

And more seriously, it suggests the Taliban had a choice. But what was that choice? Griffin brushes over it as "trying to convince the Taliban to share power with US-friendly factions", perhaps because he wants the story to relate back to the Unocal pipeline, but that's not what Naik says.

"Mr Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told him that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take military action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taleban leader, Mullah Omar.

The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the Taleban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place - possibly under the leadership of the former Afghan King Zahir Shah"

Speaking from his home in Islamabad, Naik says the pipeline was never discussed during the July meetings. When asked if the pipeline came up at any point in the Track 2 discussions, his answer was quick and clear: "No, absolutely not."

So Naiks story emphasises the importance of killing or capturing Bin Ladin above all else, and there’s no mention of the pipeline at all.

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