A government-backed pro-Taleban tribal leader in Pakistan says he would provide shelter to Osama bin Laden.
Tribal leader Mullah Nazir told journalists in Pakistan's remote South Waziristan district in the town of Wana that he has never met the al-Qaida leader.
Osama bin Laden's terrorist network masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that killed almost 3,000 people.
But Nazir says he would provide refuge to bin Laden if he chose to live according to tribal traditions.
The United States has offered a $25 million bounty on bin Laden and has repeatedly said he might be hiding in Pakistan.
Nazir is leading an effort to drive Uzbek and Chechen militants from tribal areas bordering Afghanistan under a controversial deal with the Pakistani government.
President Pervez Musharraf has praised the tribesmen, who have recently killed about 300 al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters.
Pakistani tribal groups began an offensive last month against Uzbek and other foreign militants who have sheltered in South Waziristan since escaping the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.