From a news briefing yesterday by deputy White House spokesman David Leavy:

Mr. Leavy: The United States has designated Ariana Afghan Airlines under the Taliban sanctions today, blocking all of Ariana's assets within U.S. jurisdiction and making clear that no U.S. entity or individual can now engage in business transactions with [it]. These sanctions are in response to the Taliban's continuing provision of safe haven to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. . . .

Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, is reviewing reports that some foreign banks, businesses and individuals, including persons in the Middle East, are acting for or on behalf of Mr. bin Laden and providing material or financial support for his violent acts. Should these reports prove true, and if these entities and individuals do not cease their support to Osama bin Laden, they could face the same sanctions as the announcement today. . . .

Ariana has regular flights to India and the United Arab Emirates. And we will be talking with those countries in the days ahead, to apply similar sanctions. . . .

Q: So you do have specific information that they have helped supply materials to Osama bin Laden?

A: We wouldn't be taking the action today if they weren't affiliated and supporting the bin Laden network and the Taliban.

Q: And what --

A: I don't have any specific examples I am prepared to go into today, but we wouldn't be taking this action if there wasn't significant concern.