Dead or alive, but no bin Laden traces in Pakistan
The search for Osama bin Laden has so far produced no results. Any messages the terrorist regularly sends to the world himself don’t testify to where bin Laden is taking refuge or whether or not he is alive at all. However, several months ago, it was decided that bin Laden and his accomplices may be hiding on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The hiding place is quite logical: the mountainous region is difficult to access, which is rather convenient for terrorists. In addition, the region is inhabited by the Pashtun tribes, which are out of the control of the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. For this very reason, US special services conducted several operations to search for bin Laden in this area. However, the operations turned out to be failures, but the Americans managed to set the local Pashtun tribes against themselves. These tribes don’t tolerate foreigners on their territories. When the special operations failed, the assumption that bin Laden was dead became very popular in Washington. However, this version isn’t supported by any evidence.
Islamabad says that bin Laden can’t be hiding in Pakistan. Recently, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf called into question the possibility that Osama bin Laden had been the mastermind of the Sept.11 terrorism attacks in the USA. He doubts that the number one terrorist had neither managerial talents nor finances for the organization of such terrorism attacks.
Pakistani Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said during his official visit to Qatar that bin Laden can't be hiding on Pakistani territory. “There is no evidence that bin Laden is dead. However, if he is alive, Pakistan is not a friendly land for him. We have sought the help of tribes living close to the Afghan border, and they are cooperating with us. I doubt very much that bin Laden is in Pakistan,” the Pakistani interior minister said.
To tell the truth, the statement will hardly cause Washington to give up the search for bin Laden on Pakistani territory. As long as some people in the US government (such as Donald Rumsfeld, for example) believe that bin Laden is alive, the search will continue. And this is despite the fact that opinion of the Pakistani authorities on the problem is perfectly evident. Islamabad seems very irritated with US operations on its territory.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/09/02/46495.html