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Bin Laden is alive, says Afghan warlord

But the Al-Qaeda leader maintains a low profile, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says in a video.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Abu Dhabi
UPDATED ON MAY 14, 2007 04:23 PM IST

Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is still alive but maintains a low profile, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said in a latest video release.

"According to my information Osama is still alive," Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister, said in the video aired by Al-Arabiya television late on Sunday.

"It is good" that Bin Laden "does not appear in the media", and "it is wise" that he "does not issue statements or tapes, even after a long while," said the warlord.

Bin Laden's long-time silence has fuelled speculation that the world's most-wanted man may have died.

The last video of Bin Laden was released in late 2004, and the last audio recording was made public in mid-2006.

The former prime minister is on a US wanted list and carries a multi-million-dollar bounty on his head.

Hekmatyar is believed to be hiding in eastern Afghanistan or Pakistan while leading an insurgency separate from the Taliban Islamic movement against the Afghan government and foreign troops under the command of NATO and the US military.

In January, Hekmatyar said fighters loyal to his group had helped Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri escape a massive US special forces' hunt in the eastern Afghan mountains in late 2001.

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