"This meeting of ulema (scholars) expresses its anguish and sorrow over the attacks in the United States and hopes that America will not launch any attack against Afghanistan, and carry out full investigations.
The Afghan Islamic Press services (through the AP and AFP) made a quick translation of the Taliban government's statement on Osama Bin Laden. (The statement was issued by the Grand Shura in Kabul.) Here's the translation, clipped from one of our subscription services. Note that the Taliban clerics threaten a holy war against the US after they make the statement that Osama Bin Laden should leave Afghanistan "voluntarily" at an "appropriate" time. Make no mistake, this is a concession to US and Pakistani pressure, though a concession that is also part stalling tactic. Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency has a great deal of influence with the Taliban. It should. While the ISI did not literally create the Taliban, it certainly nurtured and promoted the Taliban in 1993 and 1994. Anyway, here's the text of the Grand Shura's statement:
"The meeting demands that America and the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) should probe the incident freely to bring out the truth so that innocent people are saved.
"The present crisis should be defused and steps should be taken to prevent a repeat of such misunderstandings in the future.
"This Shura of Islamic scholars demands from the Islamic Emirate (Afghanistan's Taliban regime) that Osama bin Laden should voluntarily leave Afghanistan for a place of his choice at an appropriate time.
"The United Nations and the OIC should take notice of the statement of President Bush describing the contemplated military action as a crusade. This has hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world and created a dangerous situation for the world.
"If America does not show restraint even after the above decisions, a jihad will become incumbent in accordance with the principles of Shariat (Islamic law) and the entire Muslim community should support this."