U.S. Goal: To Isolate Taliban Afghanistan Labeled Haven of Lawlessness

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WASHINGTON -- Declaring Afghanistan is "a haven of lawlessness," the State Department's counterterrorism chief vowed yesterday an all-out diplomatic, political and economic pressure campaign to isolate the ruling Taliban militia from the world community.

In prepared testimony to the House Judiciary Committee's crime subcommittee, the official, Michael Sheehan, ticked off a list of 11 suspected terrorists who have been harbored in Afghanistan, train their forces there or been financed from the South Asian country.

And the list, headed by Saudi expatriate Osama bin Laden, wanted in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, "gets longer all the time," Sheehan said.

"The Taliban's control over most of Afghanistan has resulted in a haven of lawlessness, in which terrorists, drug traffickers and other criminals live with impunity," he said.

Central to the U.S. campaign are sanctions the United States and Russia are seeking to have the U.N. Security Council impose on the ruling Taliban militia. These include an embargo on arms sales to Afghanistan and export of chemicals used to manufacture heroin. …