US effort to capture Osama intense: Myers
WASHINGTON: The United States is engaged in intense efforts to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who is believed to be hiding in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, said General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.
“It’s been intense,” he said. “There have been operations that have gone on to work that problem. We’re organised to take advantage of the leads.”General Myers refused to discuss the search in any detail, but assured defence reporters here US intelligence agencies have spent “an enormous amount of time” on the effort. “There are areas where we think it is most likely he is, and they remain the same. They haven’t changed in months,” said Gen Myers.
Asked whether the Al Qaeda leader was believed to be in Pakistan, he said, “Don’t know that. We think in that border region somewhere. We don’t know where it is precisely.”
Gen Myers comments came just days after the top US commander in Afghanistan said the Pakistani military has begun to confront tribal leaders in the border areas, threatening them with home demolitions and other punishment if they harbour Al Qaeda fighters.
Lieutenant General David Barno, who recently boasted that Bin Laden would be captured this year, said on Tuesday that US and Pakistani military forces operating on opposite sides of the border have tightened cooperation and were moving toward “hammer-and-anvil” operations against Al Qaeda.
Gen Myers said an increase in violence was anticipated as the weather improves and people were able to move around more in the country’s rough terrain. “We’ve been preparing for that and have been somewhat successful, and we’re getting good help from Pakistan on this issue as well,” he said. —AFP