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Laden moves close to Pak border

Laden moves close to Pak border

Author:
Publication: The Daily Excelsior
Date: November 28, 2001
URL: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/01nov28/news.htm#12

Washington, Nov 27: For the first time since September 11 terror strikes in US, Pakistani intelligence agents have entered Afghanistan with a task to track Osama bin Laden and frustrate Al-Qaeda's attempts to search for a new base in Pakistan, according to a senior Pakistani intelligence official.

The official in Islamabad was quoted by the Washington Post about the new Pakistani operation in Afghanistan.

Another senior Pakistani intelligence official said: "all our eyes and ears in Afghanistan are currently devoted to the search for Osama bin Laden and his associates. There is definite evidence that he has moved close to our borders."

The new Pakistani operation, said the Post, comes as President Pervez Musharraf's Government has become increasingly alarmed at the prospect of bin Laden and his heavily armed fighters leaving Afghanistan in search of a Pakistani safe haven.

"American intelligence has also received information that Osama and other leading Al-Qaeda fighters were looking for new hideouts in the Pashtun tribal areas of Pakistan," said a third senior Pakistani intelligence official.

While publicly Musharraf and his top advisers have sought to play down fears of bin Laden or Taliban incursions into Pakistan, said the paper, "privately, senior Pakistani officials are not so confident, suggesting there is a serious threat that remnants of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban could find refuge here (in Pakistan).

And there is significant evidence that the new security measures at the border have not succeeded in closing down the traffic between the two countries "Al-Qaeda is on the run, and it is the most dangerous situation for our own security," said one of the Pakistani intelligence officials.

Added another: "it is in our security interest that Osama be caught before he ponders friendly offers from someone from our side of the borders. Unfortunately, many Pakistanis are known to have deep ties with Osama and they would be willing to host Al-Qaeda in Pakistan."

Having lost the best intelligence sources inside Afghanistan after its alliance with the US against the Taliban, the Post said, "Pakistan's powerful military Inter-Services Intelligence agency has conducted intensive secret negotiations with the new rulers of Pashtun-speaking provinces in Afghanistan's south and east, cultivating new sources and enlisting them in the hunt for bin Laden." (PTI)
 


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