While the United States of America continues to bomb the Tora Bora cave complex in a desperate search for the perpetrator of the worst terrorist crime in history, the truth may be that nature has already done what the bombs did not manage: sources in Pakistan state that Osama Bin Laden was buried weeks ago, having died from natural causes. After the incident earlier in the week when civilian notables were killed in attacks by US bombers and Spectre Ground-Assault Aircraft, the new administration in Kabul has requested the USA to refrain from any more such attacks in the country.
Reports from last summer that Osama Bin Laden had entered an American Hospital in the Middle East to undergo treatment for a kidney complaint were disclaimed and dispelled by Washington. However, one source, The Dohar News (Islamabad), claims that he died two weeks ago from cancer of the kidney or a lung infection.
Another source, the Pakistan Observer, quotes an unidentified Taleban source, who declared that Osama Bin Laden was buried with full honours two weeks ago, after having passed away naturally and peacefully, due to a lung infection.
Certainly, in the latest video, Osama Bin Laden appeared frail, weak and ill, gesticulating with the right arm, although he is known to be left-handed. If the video was made in the second week of December (in agreement with the message of its author), it is possible that he died shortly after making it. Weeks of living at high altitude, allied to the continuous stress of avoiding bombing attacks and his low blood pressure, coupled with a prolonged period underground, without contact with fresh air, could also have produced the pale skin, cavernous eyes and severe weight loss in evidence in the video.
On the other hand, such claims could also be a ploy to mislead and deceive the forces searching for him. These efforts will be relentless until a body is found, due to the fact that Bin Laden once again reiterated his position against the USA, calling on Islamist extremists everywhere to combat the economic interests of this country, due to its continuing support for Israel.
The new Afghan Interior Minister, Younis Qanooni, said that Al-Qaeda remains intact with its chain of command unaffected by the conflict in Afghanistan. He also claimed that “We have information that Osama is in eastern Afghanistan with a former commander of Hezb-i-Islami”, a reference to the former Mujaheddin Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
The web of complexity involving Afghanistan is far from dismantled and Osama Bin Laden, while a body is not produced and confirmed by DNA testing, will remain a threat, a myth or a legend, depending upon the viewpoint of the beholder.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18