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Pentagon: No Comment on bin Laden's Tape - 2001-12-26

The Pentagon had no comment on the latest videotaped message from Osama bin Laden. But defense officials are saying they have no immediate plans to dispatch more U.S. troops to join in the hunt for the fugitive terrorist leader in Afghanistan's Tora Bora region.

Pentagon officials say there is no need for additional U.S. troops because Afghan forces scouring suspected al-Qaida terrorist hide-outs in the Tora Bora region are conducting a thorough search operation.

Spokesman Bryan Whitman describes the hunt by Afghan fighters as tenacious, and says Pentagon planners are very happy with their effort. He coupled his comment with renewed speculation that Osama bin Laden may already be dead - the victim of past U.S. bombing raids on caves and bunkers used by al-Qaida in Tora Bora.

However, other American officials have suggested Osama bin Laden may still be alive and at large or that he may have fled Afghanistan.