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Crack UK troops join hunt for Laden
March 01, 2004 16:31 IST
Crack British troops are part of a dramatic new joint effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, reports The Guardian, London.
According to the report, "the push will be the biggest such operation for 18 months. Attempts to find the fugitives last year were hindered by a lack of special forces soldiers - most of whom had been deployed in Iraq - and the failure of Pakistan to cut off escape routes by closing its border with Afghanistan. Harsh winter conditions in recent months have made movement in the high ground where bin Laden is thought to be hiding impossible.
"Thousands of Pakistani troops and paramilitaries are preparing to move into positions along the 1,520-mile frontier to act as an anvil against which the US-led hammer can strike."
According to the article, the hunt is being boosted by a computer programme developed in Iraq to locate 'high value human targets'. The programme charts links between thousands of people associated with a fugitive, allowing intelligence officers to detect key individuals who might have vital information.
'The sands in their hourglass are running out. We reaffirm our effort to track these guys down and get 'em," The Guardian quoted Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Beevers, a US military spokesman in Afghanistan, as saying.
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