- CHAMAN (PNS) - Taliban envoy
to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, said Saturday that Osama bin Laden
had left Afghanistan and that the Islamic militia did not know his
- "Osama has left Afghanistan with his children and
his wives and we have no idea where he has gone,'' the envoy, Abdul Salam
Zaeef, told an American newswire.
- It was not possible to independently confirm this claim.
In the early days of the confrontation with the United States over bin
Laden, the Taliban variously claimed that they did not know his
then that they were in contact with him but not controlling his
- Another senior Taliban official - Mullah Najibullah,
a Taliban leader in the southeast Afghan border town of Spin Boldak - said
earlier Saturday that bin Laden was alive, but said nothing more about
- Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood said the US military had
no evidence bin Laden left Afghanistan. He said the Taliban could be trying
to misdirect the hunt for bin Laden to protect him.
- "Our search continues,'' Flood said Saturday. As
US troops scout a crumbling Afghanistan for the al-Qaida leader wanted
for the Sept. 11 attacks, experts have said the few places he could try
to flee to include Iraq, Somalia and the disputed land of Kashmir fought
over by India and Pakistan.
- Perhaps bin Laden's best option would be to try to cross
the Afghan-Pakistan border. Long and porous, the frontier is jammed with
refugees, and Pakistan is home to militant groups sympathetic to bin Laden
and his Taliban allies.
- But the terrain, especially in the north, is often
and at this time of year, the temperature can drop below freezing. Once
over the border, bin Laden would still have to traverse Pakistan, a key
U.S. ally in the war against him.
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