Bin Laden 'slips away'
Osama Bin Laden was in southern Afghanistan shortly before a recent US arrest operation in the area, a former Taleban diplomat has said. The al-Qaeda leader was in the southern province of Nimroz just days before US forces launched an operation in nearby Helmand Province, Naseer Ahmed Roohi told Reuters news agency. “Bin Laden, along with a few companions, shifted to an unknown area,” he said, quoting “reliable sources”. Mr Roohi said the al-Qaeda leader, who is suspected of masterminding the 11 September attacks on the US, had been in the Siakoh mountain range – which straddles Nimroz and Helmand – as well as Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province. The Pentagon has denied reports that two sons of Bin Laden were injured or captured in fighting in the region. However, aircraft have been dropping leaflets in the region offering money for information on the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts. Speculation that security forces were close to locating Bin Laden rose during the week after the arrest in Pakistan of a man believed to be a close aide, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Bin Laden has not been seen since he appeared in a November 2001 videotape, but several audio recordings purporting to be from him have been released in recent months. Full Story