QUESTION: Apparently the Taliban has set a deadline of November 20 for the United States to prove that Bin Laden is a terrorist or else they are going to consider the case resolved or in his favor. What do you have to say about that?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I mean, it doesn't sound very serious to me. The federal district court handed down an indictment on this and other issues. These facts speak for themselves. The real issue is not as described by the Taliban; the real issue is why the Taliban continues to provide safe haven to Osama Bin Laden. We have made clear to the Taliban on several occasions that it must stop harboring well-known terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.
We believe that Osama Bin Laden should be brought to justice swiftly for his crimes, and any suggestion that one needs -- that this has expiration date, there is no expiration date on terrorist acts of this kind.
QUESTION: So are you planning any new consultations with the Taliban to try to, I don't know, give them a copy of the indictment or explain it to them or anything like that?
MR. RUBIN: We have been in touch with the Taliban from time to time, urging them to do the right thing here. They have not done so as yet. We will continue to talk to them, but I wouldn't be in a position to specify what exactly we would say in such a diplomatic channel.
QUESTION: Would it be inappropriate for a country where an extradition has been requested to ask for evidence supporting the extradition request?
MR. RUBIN: We don't recognize the Taliban as the leader of Afghanistan. So you can't start using state-based analogies with me.
QUESTION: Okay, well, then don't call them a country; call them the people that run the neighborhood. Would it still be inappropriate to give them -- I mean, they do have the ability to produce him. Would it be inappropriate to present them with evidence?
MR. RUBIN: We would make the decision as to what we would think would best serve our purposes; and I'm not prepared to speak about it publicly.
(The briefing concluded at 1:45 P.M.)
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