Rumsfeld: Bin Laden “Likely” Still In Afghanistan; Al Qaeda Financier Turns Himself In

Published January 17th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The search for Osama bin Laden goes on. All possible theories as to his whereabouts have emerged. Some say he fled the region by sea. Some claim he found safe haven in Pakistan or perhaps in Iran. Others indicate that the Saudi born Al Qaeda leader had been killed during the US bombings in Afghanistan. The real solution to this riddle is still to be found.  

 

After more than three months of war and weeks of speculation that he may have escaped, Osama bin Laden and Mulla Mohammad Omar, the top two fugitives in the U.S. war against terrorism, are likely still in Afghanistan, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, speaking on Wednesday. 

 

The Washington Post reports that Rumsfeld stated "We still believe they're in the country". "We're still working on that basis, although we are looking at some other places as well, from time to time." According to U.S. officials, Rumsfeld made these claims not on the basis of new incoming intelligence information, but rather due to lack of any strong evidence pointing to Bin Laden or Omar’s escape from the war-stricken country. 

 

Rumsfeld's comments were the first in more than a week from a senior U.S. official on the whereabouts of bin Laden, and Omar, leader of Afghanistan's deposed Taliban regime. His comments followed statements by Pentagon officials more than a week ago, stating they would no longer speculate on the two figures' location, a position others believed was taken out of concern that this would be calling attention to the failure to capture them thus far. "We've tried hard not to personalize it," said Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon spokeswoman. "This is about a lot more than [bin Laden] and Omar." 

 

Al Qaeda Financier 

 

A top financier of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network has turned himself in at Kandahar airport. According to reports, he showed up at the front gate and basically surrendered on his own. He is currently being held in custody. 

 

According to UPI, this surrender came just shortly after U.S. troops captured seven more prisoners. Military officials claim it was not yet clear whether the prisoners were from Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but they were captured in the Eastern part of Afghanistan, where it is believed that there are still Al Qaeda members at large. 

 

In a separate development, American Clark Russell Bowers, aged 37, was allegedly abducted in Afghanistan while delivering medical supplies last week. His wife reported his abduction to the State Department, which is now investigating the matter. (Albawaba.com) 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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