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Osama most likely in Pakistan: US expert

It would be political suicide for Pakistan to allow US military to be tramping around their country, said terror expert Peter Bergen.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2006 13:01 IST

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is most likely living in Pakistan, where the US military was not allowed to go in, Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert at the TV channel CNN, has said.

Asked if there was a hunt on for bin Laden, and by whom, Bergen said, "There has been a hunt for bin Laden, but there's an interesting stalemate right now.

Bin Laden, by any reasonable account, is in Pakistan and the US military cannot go into Pakistan because the Pakistani government won't allow that.

It would be political suicide for them to allow US military to be tramping around their country.

So, yes, there is a hunt, but it's somewhat stymied by the fact that the one place the US military can't go and find him is the country where he's almost certainly in," said Bergen, who had once interviewed Osama.

He said that the world's most wanted fugitive was leading a very simple life, with no modern day luxuries.

"He's lived a kind of monk-like life for a long time. Even when he had millions in the bank, he was sleeping on the floor, he wasn't drinking cold water. He was leading a very detached life.

It seemed like he had been preparing for this for a very long time. And, he certainly isn't making cash withdrawals that can be traced," the Daily Times quoted Bergen as saying.

He further said that the problem of finding one person was much harder than one might imagine.

Bergen said that bin Laden might have some health problems but "they were not life threatening".

"He certainly doesn't have kidney disease, because he'd be dead by now if he did. He's not going to die of natural causes anytime soon," he added.

CNN is all set to screen a documentary on bin Laden's life on 23 August.

First Published: Aug 16, 2006 13:01 IST