President Pervez Musharraf possibly struck a deal with the US
not to capture Osama bin Laden after the Afghan war for fear
of inciting trouble in his own country and the al-Qaeda leader
is hiding in northern tribal areas of Pakistan, a media report
An agreement was reached between Musharraf and the US
authorities shortly after the terrorist mastermind fled from
Tora Bora caves in eastern Afghanistan with the Taliban regime
collapsing, The Guardian said quoting Monsoor Ijaz, a
Pak-American financier who has spent years tracking Laden's
movements and operations.
The Pakistanis feared that to capture or kill Laden soon
after a hugely unpopular war would incite civil unrest in
Pakistan and trigger a spate of revenge al-Qaeda attacks on
western targets across the world, the expert said.
The Americans, Ijaz said, accepted the argument and the
following months centred on taking down not Laden but the
"retaliation infrastructure" of al-Qaeda.
It meant that Musharraf frequently put out remarkably
conflicting accounts of the status of Laden while the US
administration barely mentioned his name, the paper said.
Ijaz, who recently visited Pakistan, believes Laden is
hiding in "northern tribal areas" of the country protected by
three elaborate security cordons, the first being a ring
around 120 miles in diameter of tribesmen, whose job is to
report any approach by Pakistani troops or US special forces.
Inside them is a lighter ring, made up of village elders
who would warn if the outer ring is breached. At the centre is
Laden himself protected by some close relatives or bodyguards.