RealNews

New U.S. Effort Steps Up Hunt for bin Laden

President Bush has approved a plan to intensify the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, senior administration and military officials say, as a combination of better intelligence, improving weather and a refocusing of resources away from Iraq has reinvigorated the hunt along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The plan will apply both new forces and new tactics to the task, said senior officials in Washington and Afghanistan who were interviewed in recent days. The group at the center of the effort is Task Force 121, the covert commando team of Special Operations forces and Central Intelligence Agency officers. The team was involved in Saddam Hussein’s capture and is gradually shifting its forces to Afghanistan to step up the search for Mr. bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar, the former Taliban leader. After a visit to Pakistan earlier this month by the the director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, American officials say, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan appears to be far more seriously committed to tracking down Al Qaeda and Taliban militants along the semiautonomous border region. Full Story

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