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DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2005�


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TOP PAKISTANI ANTI-TERROR OFFICIALS BELIEVE BIN LADEN HOLED UP IN AFGHANISTAN WITH LESS THAN 10 MEN, NO LONGER EFFECTIVE
Fri Sep 23 2005 14:01:11 ET

����������� The Pakistani military officers battling al Qaeda along the border with Afghanistan who have the latest first-hand information about Osama bin Laden believe he is hiding with a small cadre in Afghanistan and is no longer an effective leader for the terrorist group.� Steve Kroft�s report from Pakistan will be broadcast on the 38th season premiere of 60 MINUTES Sunday, Sept. 25 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS television Network. �

����������� �I think now [bin Laden] is being protected or assisted by a very short number, which keeps his profile very low,� the counter-terrorism head of Pakistan�s Intelligence Service, ISI, tells Kroft.�� [He is someplace along the border, probably in Afghanistan] is what my assessment says,� opines the brigadier who goes by the name �Ali� and whose true identity is known by only a few government officials. �

����������� Ali tells Kroft his forces have diminished bin Laden�s power by capturing 594 al-Qaeda members and crippling the group�s communications, including infiltrating their courier network.� �We have been able to effectively break the communications network from top to bottom. We do not allow these people to communicate with each other,� says Ali.� �

����������� The information gleaned from the captives and given to coalition officials has helped to prevent planned terror attacks against financial buildings in the U.S., planes and buildings at London�s Heathrow airport and has assisted in the capture of al-Qaeda operatives in Great Britain.� �The mere fact that there has not been a replication of 9/11 speaks volumes of what we shared with the world,� boasts Ali. �

����������� Finding bin Laden doesn�t matter at this point, believes Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, in charge of Pakistan�s anti-terrorism operations along the Afghanistan border.� �If [bin Laden] is hiding in a hole, neither the electronic nor the human intelligence can find him,� he tells Kroft.� �Is it all that important to find him? If he�s taken out tomorrow, his ideology is not going to come to an end.� I don�t think that it�s important�if he is captured�.This is my personal view,� says Hussain. �

����������� Kroft also spoke to the Pakistani leader, �Gen. Pervez Musharraf.� �These troops are not certainly on the trail of one man and that�s all they are doing,� notes Musharraf.� �We are fighting terrorism wherever it is. If Osama happens to be there incidentally, he will be killed or captured,� he tells Kroft.

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