Report: Bin Laden Survived Tora Bora Bombing, Hiding in Afghan-Pakistan Border
Osama bin Laden survived U.S. bombing raids on Tora Bora and other mountainous Afghan regions and probably remains hidden in the remote terrain straddling Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing senior Bush administration officials.
The newspaper reported that unidentified senior administration officials said they have new indications that the Saudi diddident blamed by the United States for the Sept. 11 attacks remains at large in the border area. The evidence casts doubt on earlier theories that bin Laden had been killed in the war, died of kidney disease or fled to Iran or Yemen.
According to Reuters, the officials cited by the New York Times said the fresh assessment of bin Laden's whereabouts is based on information gained within the past month. A senior administration official conveyed the new evidence was "very fragile" and refused to provide further details. But the American newspaper quoted the official as saying: "We are quite certain he is alive and we think he is somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It may be that he moves back and forth between the two."
Other officials said the area where bin Laden might be hiding was in southeastern Afghanistan and adjacent tribal areas of the Pakistani provinces of the Northwest Frontier and Baluchistan that have been strongholds of Islamic militancy and deeply suspicious of outside interference.
The Times said the Bush administration is not claiming to have bin Laden cornered. It quoted one official as saying capturing or killing al-Qaeda leader appeared to be "a long-term proposition." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)