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Pakistan Says bin Laden May be Hiding in Southern Afghanistan

Aftab Ahmed Sherpao

Pakistan's interior minister says he believes al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his closest allies are not in Pakistan, but could be hiding in troubled southern Afghanistan.

Aftab Ahmed Sherpao says the possibility that bin Laden, his top aide Ayman al-Zawahiri and Taleban chief Mullah Omar may be hiding out in southern Afghanistan cannot be ruled out because the area is not under effective control of the Afghan government.

U.S. and Afghan officials have said repeatedly that they believe bin Laden is not in Afghanistan, suggesting he might be in Pakistan.

Last month, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss said he has "an excellent idea" about where Osama bin Laden is hiding. And former U.S. Ambassador to Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad, said he believes bin Laden is not in Afghanistan, although he did not say where he thinks the fugitive al-Qaida leader is.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.