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Pakistan abandons search for bin Laden

By Aldanatech ·
According to the Toronto Star, the Pakistan army said it will withdraw hundreds of troops from a tense tribal region near Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and his top deputy were believed to be hiding.

The withdrawals from the South Waziristan area come after several military operations by thousands of troops against remnants of bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and its supporters in recent months.

Although the tribal region is considered a possible hiding place for bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, a senior Pakistan general said earlier this month that no sign of bin Laden has been found.

Bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, has been on the run since U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, routing the Taliban rulers, who harbored Al Qaeda militants.

The army will remove checkpoints in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, the top general in northwestern Pakistan, said after meeting with tribal elders Friday.

He said the moves are "in return for the support of tribesmen in operations against foreign miscreants." Some troops will remain in the area, he said.

"We have been assured by tribal elders that they will not allow miscreants to hide in areas under their control," Hussain said.

Between 7,000 and 8,000 Pakistani forces were deployed in a three-pronged offensive in the eastern reaches of the rugged region this month. U.S. military forces remain largely on the Afghanistan side in hopes of capturing or killing any Al Qaeda operatives crossing the border.

Earlier this month, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command, said it was "essential that Pakistan military continue their operations" in the area, adding that Pakistan has made "very, very positive moves" against Al Qaeda and its supporters in the past six months.

Smith said Pakistan's military was so effective in pressuring Al Qaeda leaders hiding in the tribal region of western Pakistan that bin Laden and his top deputies no longer were able to direct terrorist operations.

At a news conference Friday, Hussain presented three captured Central Asians, including two teenage boys, alleged to be Islamic militants. He said the militants were using the youths to target military forces.

Pakistani officials have said hundreds of Arab and Central Asian militants suspected of links with Al Qaeda were hiding in South Waziristan, supported by sympathetic tribesmen.

Earlier, provincial Gov. Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah said all "innocent people" rounded up from the tribal regions during the recent military operations will be released.

He asked tribesmen to give all possible help to the government in seizing foreign militants and tried to ease concerns that the government had been targeting any tribe.

"The misunderstanding between you and the government appeared when you gave refuge to some foreign elements, who were neither your friends nor well-wishers nor of the government," he said.

Do you consider that any of this reduces our chances of capturing Bin Laden? And if so, to what extent?


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by maxwell edison In reply to Pakistan abandons search ...

The Pakistanis are moving out to clear the way for US Army Special Forces and US Marines who will openly go into Pakistan (at least that particular region of Pakistan), and with the approval of the Pakistani government.

A subsequent further deployment of up to 25,000 US troops, maybe more, will enter Pakistan in early 2005. The continued hunt for al queda terrorists and Osama bin Laden will not stop in the region, but rather be intensified.

Osama bin Laden's days are numbered.

So to answer your question, no, this does not reduce our chances of capturing bin Laden, but rather improves them, because this is only the first step in a bigger plan. And the US military can operate more effectively - and certainly more decisively - than the Pakistan military.

You heard it here first.

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I sure hope you're correct Max

by Aldanatech In reply to Prediction

To be quite honest, I hope your prediction is correct Max. Bin Laden is really starting to make my patience grow thin. Do you have an estimate of how soon this might happen?

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Concerning news stories - any news story

by maxwell edison In reply to Pakistan abandons search ...

(These are general statements intended to apply to ANY news story, not just the one mentioned in this discussion.)

There are two ways to "read the news". You can take everything you read at face value, considering only what you read, no more no less, thereby forming your opinions only on what you read (and that's what most people do); or you can (using an over-used saying) think outside the box.

For example, one might keep some questions in mind while deciphering and interpreting any news story. Are there motives to this news story? What am I not being told? What's the bigger picture? What's the full context? What are the motives of a "quoted source" (especially an "unnamed" source)? What does the reporter not know? Is this just a small item in a bigger story? Is it just stating the facts, or is it putting spin on the facts? Is it intended to tug at my emotions? Is it arriving at a conclusion, or leaving the conclusion open to interpretation? And so forth.

This is especially true when it comes to areas of national security. One could certainly assume, for example, that there are things going on "behind the scenes" that we don't know, and things that simply won't be made public. Was the invasion of Iraq just to find those elusive weapons of mass destruction and/or an attempt to plant the seeds of democracy? Or was there another "behind the scenes" reason (or reasons) that need to be kept secret for either national security reasons or, perhaps, geopolitical reasons?

France, Germany, Russia, and even United Nations bureaucrats were "on the take", so to speak, violating UN sanctions, and taking illegal bribes and kick-backs from Saddam Hussein. Was part of the reason for the invasion to put a stop to it? And if so, could that have been made public while still maintaining some semblance of geopolitical harmony?

Or how about this? We can assume that the war against world-wide terrorism in general, and al queda specifically, involves not only hunting down the terrorists, but also cutting off their source of vital funding. Did that funding flow through Saudi Arabia? Did the Saudis fail to cooperate in that effort? Did they refuse, "behind the scenes", to do anything to stop the flow of funding? If so, could that have been made public and still maintain some semblance of geopolitical harmony - not to mention the free flow of oil? And could the invasion of Iraq, in part, been to "persuade" the Saudis to capitulate? After all, having a few armored divisions parked on their northern border might make them think about the "consequences" a little harder.

So my point is this. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes considerations that we, the mere public, are not privy to. But here we are, playing arm-chair quarterback, evaluating every move they make (at least the "known" moves), and forming what we believe to be the "right" conclusions. But in reality, we are really operating from a position of total ignorance.

My conclusion is this. Don't believe everything you read. Read into everything you read. And especially read into everything you don't read.

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by DC_GUY In reply to Concerning news stories - ...

Well said, Max.

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Better Yet.....

by olprof67 In reply to Pakistan abandons search ...

Let us hope bin Ladens's days of freedom are numbered, but his days themselves are not.

Taking him alive, to spend the rest of his days at the mercy of the civilization he hates, would be the ultimate punishment.

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