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Mullah Omar says He Has Not Seen bin Laden for Years


The fugitive leader of Afghanistan's ousted Taleban regime, Mullah Mohammad Omar, says he has not seen al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in five years.

In an e-mailed response to questions from Reuters news agency - and relayed by a Taleban spokesman - Omar said he has not seen bin Laden and has not tried to meet the fugitive al-Qaida leader since fleeing Kandahar in late 2001. That is when U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taleban regime following the September 11th terror attacks on the United States.

Omar also threatened to continue the war in Afghanistan until foreign troops withdraw from the country.

He said last year's more-than-100 suicide bombings in Afghanistan were carried out on religious orders from the Taleban. He also denied reports that Pakistan is providing assistance and a safe haven to his group.

Both Omar and bin Laden are widely believed to be hiding in the rugged tribal region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Omar has not released any audio or videotapes in recent years, although his purported spokesmen often issue statements attributed to the fugitive leader.

The United States has offered a $10-million reward for the capture of Omar and $25 million for bin Laden.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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