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Monday, September 27, 2004

CNN.com - Bin Laden 'alive and in Pakistan' - Sep 27, 2004

CNN.com - Bin Laden 'alive and in Pakistan' - Sep 27, 2004

(CNN) -- Intelligence indicates Osama bin Laden is alive, Pakistan's president says, and the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan believes the al Qaeda leader is likely in Pakistan.

On a visit to The Hague in the Netherlands Monday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf told reporters interrogations of captured al Qaeda operatives and technological evidence indicate bin Laden is alive.

Lt. Gen. David Barno, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, told the Reuters news agency that top al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, are more likely to be in Pakistan than Afghanistan.

"We see relatively little evidence of senior al Qaeda personality figures being here (in Afghanistan) because they can feel more protected by their foreign fighters in remote areas inside Pakistan," he said.

Barno also said no major al Qaeda figures had been caught or killed in Afghanistan since 2002, but Pakistan has arrested or killed dozens linked to the network since March.

Lt. Col. Pam Keaton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, confirmed to CNN that Barno's comments were accurately reported by Reuters.

Pakistan is leading its own operations to track down al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, particularly in tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan.

The United States has no official involvement in those military efforts but has offered support.



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