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US is forced to abandon hunt for bin Laden

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US is forced to abandon hunt for bin Laden

By Robin Gedye, Foreign Affairs Writer

(Filed: 14/12/2004)

Three years after Osama bin Laden fled American bombs in his Tora Bora hideout, the search for the world's most wanted man has all but come to a halt because of Pakistan's refusal to permit cross-border raids from Afghanistan, according to CIA officials.

Washington has downgraded its efforts to catch the al-Qa'eda leader in Afghanistan, from where he supervised the September 11 attacks, because it has become convinced that he is hiding in Pakistan's virtually lawless Tribal Areas, which hug the 1,200-mile frontier.

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

Islamabad refuses to permit cross-border pursuits by US special forces based in Afghanistan's mountainous frontier regions, agency officials told the New York Times.

Earlier this month President Pervaiz Musharraf of Pakistan claimed that his forces had cleared much of the tribal areas of the terror groups.

"We have cleaned them up from the mountains. We have broken the back of al-Qa'eda in Pakistan and I say this with total conviction and authority," he told The Telegraph.

"They are on the run, their control structure is broken, their bases smashed."

More than 600 al-Qa'eda terrorists had been apprehended by the Pakistani authorities, Gen Musharraf said.

As a result there should "no longer be any doubt" that the country was winning its battle against bin Laden's terrorist network.

He admitted that, although his forces continued to search for bin Laden, the trail had gone cold and the only thing he was certain of was that the terrorist leader was still alive.

But he added: "We're not there to concentrate only on running after one individual in the mountains. In the process of attacking the terrorists, many high-value targets, many of their leaders, get eliminated.

"If anyone - whether it is Zawahiri [bin Laden's deputy] or Osama bin Laden - happens to be there, they will be eliminated."

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said at the weekend that bin Laden was "definitely" in the region and would eventually be caught.

But according to the New York Times, the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions where bin Laden is believed to be hiding with a group of elite al-Qa'eda associates have become inaccessible to US troops due to the hostility of local people and Pakistan's refusal to allow US forces to operate in its territory.

The Americans believe bin Laden and his lieutenants are hiding among sympathetic local tribesmen, funding his operations from the proceeds of opium sales.

They suspect that bin Laden, obsessed with another big hit against America, remains more than an iconic figurehead, having retained ultimate control over operations against the US while leaving the rest of al-Qa'eda's operations to local terrorist commanders. Electronic surveillance of the border region has proved ineffective as bin Laden, wise to the US satellite capability, avoids using any communications equipment that can be monitored, relying rather on face-to-face meetings or using couriers.

Even US covert ground forces, many of them CIA paramilitary operatives, have been frustrated from launching operations from their network of secret bases opened in late 2003.

According to US officials, the operatives depend on Pakistani army commanders, whose co-operation varies widely.

Even spy missions by unmanned Predator drones need Pakistani military approval involving a lengthy chain of command that frequently causes delays.

The New York Times report adds to a stream of circumstantial evidence over the past year pointing to the same seven tribal areas of Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai, Mohmand, Bejaur, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, all inhabited by the fiercely independent Pathan tribes, as bin Laden's operational area.

Decades of neglect by the central government merely served to increase the Pathans' legendary resentment of outside interference.

It was the Pathans' refusal to bow down to colonial rule that gained them maximum autonomy under the British and allowed them to run their affairs in accordance with their Islamic faith.

Any thought of co-operating with Pakistani or US troops is anathema.

US intelligence officials have voiced privately their frustration at the lack of success in detaining al-Qa'eda's senior echelons, pointing out that all the "high-value targets" have been picked up in cities rather than in the border areas where most of them are living.

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Your an idiot :-)

Much like I was saying- the Paki`s dont give a rats azz about US,

now from the newsgroups-

"Musharraf is one car bomb away from being dethroned. He is the only thing

keeping the Jerry falwell-equivalents in the Muslim world from getting their

murderous hands on a nuclear bomb. The next 9/11 WILL be a mushroom cloud and

what children's book will lil' Shrub be reading then?"

Do you ACTUALLY THINK that a pissant country like Pakistan could keep us from looking if we wanted to?


>Something doesn't smell right here


So your SOOOOO smart , why won`t they let us take O.B.Ladin or cross over into their country?

Son, please put down the crack pipe before you post................the combination of the rock and your level of stupidity spits out posts that are painful on the eyes

p.s. ....the smell is the fungus growing in the empty chamber between your ears

ps2....please get an adult to help you understand the contradictions of your own thoughts ("thoughts" used lightly)

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