- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) — For the second time in three days, the United States and its allies dropped leaflets Saturday in the border areas of southwestern Afghanistan and Pakistan warning Osama bin Laden that he is surrounded and should surrender.

Based on the information they received when Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the 38-year-old believed to be al Qaida's chief of operations, was arrested last week U.S. and Pakistani security agencies are searching for bin Laden in a narrow corridor that joins three of the region's most important countries — Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

They are particularly interested in two areas, Chaman — a Pakistani town on the main road to Kandahar — and the rugged mountains near the Iran-Pakistan border.

On Thursday, U.S. planes dropped leaflets in these areas, reminding people of the $25 million reward for bin Laden.

On Saturday, they dropped more pamphlets in the towns of Chaman, Spin Buldak and Noshki, telling bin Laden to "save the people of the area from war and destruction by surrendering himself."

"We have surrounded you. You cannot escape this time. Surrender and avoid more bloodshed," the pamphlet said. The pamphlets were written in three languages, including Pashto, Dari and Arabic.

The pamphlet also reminded residents that: "Osama bin Laden, and not the U.S. or allied forces, is responsible for war and bloodshed in Afghanistan. Had he surrendered earlier, this war could have been avoided but he did not."

A caption under the picture of a stack of dollars says that if bin Laden is handed over to U.S. forces, this money can be used for the welfare of the people of the area.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials said the CIA and Pakistani agents continue to track bin Laden after they learned last week about a cell phone call originating from one of these areas.

Pakistani security officials also said that Bin Laden's son Saad was recently in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and it was a cell phone call to him that turned authorities onto bin Laden's trail. But bin Laden is reported to have used cell phones in the past to misguide U.S. forces.

When he was believed to be hiding in Tora Bora in Afghanistan, bin Laden gave a cell phone and a tape recording of his voice to a group that headed out of the region in one direction, allowing him to escape capture.

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