A Taliban spokesperson has claimed there is no evidence that the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States.
Zabihullah Mujahid made the claim during an interview with NBC Nightly News on Wednesday as the August 31 deadline for the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan approaches.
Bin Laden was responsible for planning the attacks, which prompted the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. He initially denied involvement in 9/11 but later appeared to claim responsibility.
Mujahid said: “When Osama Bin Laden became an issue for the Americans, he was in Afghanistan.”
“Although there was no proof he was involved, now we have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone,” he said.
“There is no evidence. Even after 20 years of war, we have no proof he was involved,” Mujahid added.
NBC’s Richard Engel pressed Mujahid about the matter, asking: “So it sounds like, even now, after all this, you’re accepting no responsibility?”
“There was no justification for this war, it was excuse for war,” he said.
When Engel asked Mujahid about the U.S. leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban spokesman said: “The withdrawal is almost finished. These are our happiest moments.”
However, the 9/11 Commission report concluded that the “9/11 attack was driven by Usama Bin Ladin.”
The report made clear reference to Al-Qaeda’s connection to the Taliban and its former leader, Mullah Omar: “As final preparations were under way during the summer of 2001, dissent emerged among al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan over whether to proceed.
“The Taliban’s chief, Mullah Omar, opposed attacking the United States. Although facing opposition from many of his senior lieutenants, Bin Ladin effectively overruled their objections, and the attacks went forward,” the report said.
In 2004, bin Laden appeared to admit to his role in organizing 9/11 in videotaped remarks.
“God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it,” bin Laden said.
Referencing the 1982 Lebanon War, bin Laden went on to say: “As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”
The Taliban was sheltering bin Laden while the group was in power in Afghanistan in 2001 and the U.S. invasion was carried out in order to catch the Al-Qaeda leader and prevent the country from being used as a base to attack the U.S.