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Bin Laden, Mullah Omar still alive in Afghanistan, minister says

Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar, former leader of the Taliban movement, may be hiding out in the mountainous regions straddling the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a top Afghani official said Monday. “My perception is that both men are still alive, perhaps in the border areas,” Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The exact locations of those two gentlemen are not known to us,” Abdullah said, adding that, “Eventually, they will be caught … because they do not have popular support in Afghanistan.” Bin Laden, the head of the al-Qaida terrorist network blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and other acts of violence in Asia and Africa, has not been seen since the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan which ousted the Taliban regime that had given him shelter. U.S. coalition forces and their Afghan allies mounted massive operations aimed at killing or capturing the men. The failure of U.S. coalition forces to capture either bin Laden or Omar is seen an embarrassment to the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush at a time when it is focused on the prospect of mounting another war against Iraq. Abdullah, who with President Hamid Karzai is attending a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Malaysia’s largest city, said Pakistan and Afghanistan were cooperating in attempts to eradicate al-Qaida and Taliban remnants from the border regions. Full Story

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