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November 18, 2001
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Noose tightens around
bin Laden: Report

The capture or killing of terror suspect Osama bin Laden is imminent with a search for him narrowing down to just a 30-square-mile area in southeast Afghanistan, the Sunday Times has reported.

The area close to the Taliban's spiritual and military headquarters Kandahar has been cordoned off. American troops have been rushed to the south to block bin Laden's escape to Pakistan, the report says.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was quoted as saying "the space he has to operate in is now very limited indeed."

A British defence intelligence source was quoted as saying that bin Laden was believed to be "static" somewhere to the southeast of Kandahar. "For a variety of reasons we can be confident that he has not been able to move far."

A report in the newspaper said the destruction of the Taleban will not mean the end of bin Laden's network because "80 percent of Al Qaeda is outside Afghanistan."

There are thought to be some 10,000 Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. But this is only a minority of foreign Muslims who have passed through the nine camps run by Al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan and are now scattered throughout the world.

In the wake of the American attacks, cells have been uncovered in Germany, France, Spain and the US.

The report also said investigators have failed to track down key middlemen responsible for backing up and funding the network.

In Germany the authorities have identified at least five Al Qaeda members believed to be the "missing links" but have insufficient evidence to persuade prosecutors of their guilt.

These lower-level groups will continue to pose a threat for years to come, the report says.

"Certainly, we don't expect the death or capture of bin Laden to mark the end of this," one American intelligence source was quoted as saying. "In fact, we are expecting something pretty horrible here (in the US) precisely because of the developments in Afghanistan."

Indo-Asian News Service

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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