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December 18, 2001
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Osama, Omar, top Taliban commanders escape to Pakistan: Report

T V Parasuram in Washington

Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar have escaped into Pakistan and are in hiding, media reports said on Monday.

Washington Post quoting Pakistan officials, who spoke to the paper on the condition of anonymity, said bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan until a safer place is found for him, while Omar has been granted asylum.

Analysts point that Pakistan, as the creator of the Taliban, has a huge stake in its continued well being even in defeat, which it hopes is temporary.

They said that Pakistan's ambitions in Kashmir and are served by the Taliban remaining a viable entity and not by its destruction.

"Unbelievably, not one top Cabinet minister of Mullah Omar has been killed, arrested or defected to opposition forces during the two-month long, non-stop bombing," a senior Pakistani security official said.

The escape of the Saudi-born fugitive and the leader of the Islamic militia is being made possible because of the 'Afghan way' of fighting wars, the daily said.

The report said that according to Afghan custom the outcome of wars is considered settled once it becomes clear who has the superior forces, instead of engaging in bloody battles.

Former enemies either melt away or reconcile, and if reconciliation is not possible, at least coexist without troubling each other, the daily said.

Pakistan is yet to express either its will or the desire to nab the duo, it said adding, it is also not clear how much pressure Washington would exert on Islamabad to get them.

Of the 'dirty-dozen' list of top Taliban officials drawn up by alliance officials before the fall of Kabul a month ago, at least five are believed to be in Pakistan, the report said, quoting Afghan intelligence officials.

"Ultimately, the Taliban is expected to gain time to mount a challenge to the interim government of Hamid Karzai. Some Taliban officials have already resumed their political activities unhindered. Six of the militia's senior officials have started a party in southeastern Afghanistan. It is led by Ahmed Amin Mujadidi, a prominent cleric from Kabul," the report said.

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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