- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

From combined dispatches
Pakistan said yesterday it would deliver Osama bin Laden to the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition if he was arrested on its territory but denied reports that he had entered the country, and the Afghan government said bin Laden probably was still in Afghanistan.
In Washington, Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said fresh intelligence indicates "high probabilities" that bin Laden was still alive, although his whereabouts were still "a question mark."
Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, speaking on CNN's "Late Edition," pledged cooperation with the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition if bin Laden was captured on Pakistani soil.
"If he tries to enter Pakistan, he will be arrested and put under detention and investigation, and interrogation will begin," Mr. Sattar said. Asked whether bin Laden would be handed over to the United States, he said, "Yes, but to the coalition."
Islamabad, however, doesn't believe that bin Laden has left Afghanistan and crossed the Pakistani border, Mr. Sattar said.
"There is no information at the disposal of the government not an iota of information that should lead to the speculation that Osama bin Laden or any of his associates are on Pakistan territory except those who tried to enter and were apprehended at the border."
In Kabul, Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said bin Laden probably was still in Afghanistan.
His remarks came after Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim said Friday that bin Laden had left the country for the Pakistani border city of Peshawar.
Pakistan previously had said that bin Laden probably was dead. Last week, however, a new tape of the Saudi militant was broadcast by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network. Although the station didn't say when and where bin Laden was speaking, the recording appeared to have been made early this month.
"The latest intelligence we've had indicates that the high probabilities are that bin Laden is still alive," Mr. Graham said.
"Where he is is a question mark. The trail has gone cold as to whether he is still in the caves of Tora Bora or in fact has slipped into Pakistan."
Sen. Graham said he had received no intelligence on the physical condition of bin Laden.
A spokesman for the CIA, Fred Leeder, declined to comment on any intelligence suggesting bin Laden was still alive.
The Pentagon said U.S. bombers had hit a suspected Taliban leadership complex outside the eastern Afghan city of Gardez.
Two Air Force B1-B bombers fired precision-guided missiles Friday night at the compound, 10 miles from Gardez in Paktia province, in the latest reported air strike, military officers said.
"We had indications that there were senior Taliban officials at the facility," said Marine Lt. Col. Dave Lepan, a Pentagon spokesman, without identifying those targeted.
"Indications are that we did hit what we were aiming at."
The number of suspected Taliban and al Qaeda fighters held by the U.S. military has risen to 150, the U.S. Central Command, which is running the campaign, said yesterday.
Of the total, 139 were being detained at a makeshift jail built by U.S. Marines at Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan, including 14 brought Saturday from Shiburghan, west of Mazar-e-Sharif, said Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Compton, a Central Command spokesman.
Two others were being held at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, and one in Mazar-e-Sharif, the command said.
Eight more, including American John Walker, were being held on the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu in the Arabian Sea.

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