U.S. OK’d plan to topple Taliban a day before 9/11
March 25, 2004
WASHINGTON - After years of delay caused by inadequate intelligence, the U.S. government decided just one day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that it would try to overthrow the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan if a diplomatic push to expel Osama bin Laden from the country failed, the independent panel investigating the attacks reported Tuesday.
The plans were reported in May 2002 by MSNBC.com and NBC News, but the details and precise timing were revealed for the first time in the new report released Tuesday by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
Three-phase plan to force bin Laden’s expulsion
In the report, which was released at the outset of Tuesday’s hearing, the commission said the plan that senior Bush officials agreed upon on Sept. 10, 2001, featured three phases aimed at forcing the Taliban to expel bin Laden:
The United States would initially use diplomacy to persuade the Taliban to expel bin Laden and, if that failed, conduct a covert program aimed at “encouraging anti-Taliban Afghans to attack al-Qaida bases.”
If those steps failed, the senior Bush administration officials “agreed that the United States would seek to overthrow the Taliban regime through more direct action,” the report said.
But before the plan could be submitted to the president, bin Laden’s terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people.
Full Article: MSNBC