(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Could the man who brought Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan become that country's next president? Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a former Islamist warlord, said on Thursday that he wants to be president when elections are held next year to replace outgoing leader Hamid Karzi. Sayyaf met bin Laden at a training camp while fighting against the Russia occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s and reportedly invited the Saudi national to live in his country when the Taliban came into power in 1996.
Furthermore, the 9/11 commission said it was Sayyaf who mentored Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the U.S.
So should Washington be fearful of a Sayaff presidency?
If his more recent history is any indication, the answer might not be so cut-and-dry. Sayaff was a member of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance long before the U.S.-led invasion in October 2001 and has also built close ties to Karzai.
What might make the U.S. worry more is the 67-year-old's deeply conservative Islamist views that would certainly mean rolling back women's rights.
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