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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 11/18/2001 4:47:00 PM EST
From the Drudge Report - TheTimesUK is reporting the following story: [size=4]Taleban abandon bin Laden[/size=4] BY RICHARD BEESTON, DAVID CHARTER AND ZAHID HUSSAIN [b]Terror chief takes wives and children from bunker to bunker - Hundreds of allied troops on the trail[/b] OSAMA BIN LADEN was left isolated and on the run in Afghanistan last night after the routed Taleban leadership left him to his fate. The Taleban, who harboured their “guest” for years and refused to hand him over after the September 11 attacks, declared that he no longer enjoyed their protection and was beyond their help. With most of Afghanistan now in the hands of opposition groups, and the Taleban reduced to two shrinking pockets of control around Konduz and Kandahar, bin Laden and his al-Qaeda supporters found themselves alone and for the first time on the front line of the war. Hundreds of American and British special forces troops were yesterday criss-crossing the rugged mountains of southern and eastern Afghanistan on one of the greatest manhunts in history. Downing Street said that coalition forces were gaining a “stack” of new intelligence material which could lead them to pinpoint their quarry. Bin Laden, who is travelling with his three wives, children, bodyguards and advisers, is thought to be moving in a convoy of Jeeps from one bunker to another. Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taleban’s Ambassador to Pakistan, displayed little interest in his fate. “I do not know where he is; whether he is in other areas of Afghanistan or has left Afghanistan,” he said. “But I know this much: he is not in the area of our control.” With bin Laden on the run, US fighter-bombers have stepped up their pounding of suspected safe houses and caves, directed by spy planes and satellites. The intensity of the bombing was clear yesterday with reports of 30 people killed in the village of Shamshad, five miles from the Pakistani border. Earlier 62 people were reportedly killed in another attack on an Islamic religious school near Khost. In Kandahar and Konduz, al-Qaeda forces have begun to clash with their erstwhile Taleban allies. Afghan Taleban fighters have been massacred by fundamentalist foreign forces in Konduz and last night moderate Taleban commanders were reported to have offered to switch sides. The narrowing focus of the allied military bombing operation marked a shift from the attacks on Taleban front lines to the destruction of bin Laden’s hiding places. “I think he’s still in Afghanistan,” said Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State. “It’s getting harder for him to hide as more and more territory is removed from Taleban control. A lot of reports suggest that his freedom to manoeuvre has become quite limited.” - continued -
Link Posted: 11/18/2001 4:47:49 PM EST
Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said that as bin Laden’s powerbase weakened so Afghans would be tempted to cash him in for the £19 million American bounty on his head. Younis Qanooni, the Northern Alliance’s interior minister, pinpointed a possible hiding place. “According to my information, bin Laden is still in Kandahar province in Maruf, some 130 km (80 miles) east of Kandahar city. He has training camps there and strong underground bunkers.” Downing Street cautioned that bin Laden was a survivor who could still remain at large for some time. “He will know that the fall of Kabul and the coalition success are providing us with a stack of new intelligence material,” said a spokesman. “To the best of our knowledge he remains in Afghanistan. He is on the run and cannot hide from justice for ever.” Bin Laden is known to have prepared for this phase of the war and has taken some steps to confuse his pursuers. The Arabic daily al-Hayat newspaper quoted an al-Qaeda member as saying that bin Laden had recruited ten lookalikes. The millionaire Saudi Arabian was last seen ten days ago when he gave an interview to a Pakistani journalist who was taken from Kabul blindfolded and driven for five hours. Despite his attempts to throw trackers off his scent, the distinctive-looking terrorist chief could still find it difficult to hide because of the large retinue that travels with him. Although he has built a network of bunkers and caves, which withstood a decade of attacks from Soviet forces, they are vulnerable to modern surveillance techniques. If he is flushed out he could try to follow the example of hundreds of Taleban fighters and escape into Pakistan. The authorities there have sent troops and tanks to borders with orders to arrest any fugitive Arabs. But the porous border is difficult to patrol, and once in Pakistan bin Laden would enjoy strong support from the local Pashtun tribes, many of whom volunteered to fight for his cause. If he needed to find refuge in a third country, he might be tempted to head for the Middle East and particularly the Gulf, the bedrock of his al-Qaeda network. By far the most attractive country in the region is Yemen, where the bin Laden family orginally comes from and where his in-laws live. See article at: [url] http://worldnetdaily.com/frame/direct.asp?SITE=www.drudgereport.com[/url] Eric The(TheEndHasCome,TheWheelHasTurned,ItIsTimeF­orHimToGo-ToHell!)Hun[>]:)]
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