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Osama hiding in Pakistan: Afghan official

india Updated: Sep 11, 2006 13:37 IST
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Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan and he has not been caught because Pakistan does not allow hot pursuit of terrorists, a senior Afghanistan official has said.

"I think the reason is political constraint in the region. I think there is enough military power, intelligence gathering in the region, but from the very beginning, from the days of Tora Bora, Pakistan have not allowed hot pursuit of terrorists into their territory," Afghanistan's Ambassador to the United States Said Jawad said in a television interview.

"I think by having more than 30,000 international forces in Afghanistan and increasingly building the capability of Afghan intelligence forces, we are certain that he is spending most of his time in Pakistan..."Jawad said on Sunday.

"He might be able to slip into Afghanistan here and there but he is mainly spending most of his time in Pakistan...If he were in Afghanistan, there's no constraint whatsoever, political, military or intelligence-wise, to go after him, to find him and to bring him to justice," he said.

Asked where Osama's two top deputies Ayman al Zawahiri and Mullah Omar were, the top Afghan diplomat said: "There's been very recent reports about the fact that Mullah Omar is in Quetta, Pakistan. Zawahiri, I really don't know exactly, but he is spending a lot of time in close area with Osama bin Laden."

"...A lot of these people require connectivity to the outside world, which is not available in a cave in Afghanistan. And we also should consider the fact that a lot of the friends and associates of Osama bin Laden were found in major metropolitan centres, not necessary in caves or in the tribal areas, so the search should be expanded" Jawad said.

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