Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke out in response to an ominous letter from the Taliban in Afghanistan, stating "I think the American people understand that this is a considerable threat." In the letter, Taliban army leader Mullah Mohammed Omar threatened "surprises" against the American people if economic sanctions are imposed on Sunday for its refusal to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List for allegedly masterminding attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa.
Albright reiterated the importance of the economic sanctions against Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, declaring "We have nothing against the Afghan people. We have something against the Taliban that in effect is suppressing its people and has some of the most backward kinds of policies in terms of the way it deals with its people, women particularly."
The Taliban militia has imposed a strict system of gender apartheid against all women living in areas controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban's edicts, which have been brutally enforced, banish most women from the work force, closed schools to girls and expelled women from universities, and prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation and AP - November 9, 1999