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bin Laden hiding in Pakistan’s Chitral region….

15 March 2009 No Comment
Osama bin Laden hiding in Chitral...?

Osama bin Laden hiding in Chitral...?

New York: Finally, the US has tracked down Osama bin Laden to Hindu Kush mountains in Pakistan’s scenic Chitral region, the New York Daily News said March 14, saying that the area with stunning peaks and valleys is suspected to be his hideout since 2006.

Like the Swat valley, Chitral also is under Talibanisation effect in the recent past. And it is off limits for foreigners and journalists.

Though there is still no official word from Washington on Osama whereabouts, the New York Daily News report   lends credence to periodical reports that a lengthy review of Osama tapes since 9/11 and spy watch from air and ground have pointed to Chitral and neighboring Kalam towns as Osama bin Laden’s safe haven.

US drones have not targeted Chitral mainly because of logistic constraints. These operate off Quetta in Balochistan and are limited to a few hours due to refueling limitations. In the light of latest assessment, the Drone strategy may change.

A group of US experts and students in February proposed the hypothesis that Al Qaeda leader was most likely hiding in northwest Pakistan.  Using standard geographical tools routinely employed to locate endangered species and fugitive criminals, the group said there is a high probability that Bin Laden has been hiding in one of three buildings in the northwestern Pakistani city of Parachinar, a long-time hideout for mujahideen fighters.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) immediately took note of the hypothesis proposed by Thomas W Gillespie and his team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Their findings were published online in the MIT International Review.

Thomas and his colleagues employed two geographic principles used to predict the distribution of wildlife. They started with a satellite map centred on bin Laden’s last known location, in Tora Bora, in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. They zeroed in on Parachinar after eliminating areas in Afghanistan and adjoining Pakistan. He must have trekked nearly two miles over mountainous terrain to the Pakistani tribal area of Kurram and settled in Parachinar, a town 15 km from the Afghan border, they concluded.

In fact, the UCLA researchers zeroed in further by searching satellite images for buildings with walls at least 10 feet high (for safety), at least three rooms (to house his bodyguards) and electricity (to power his kidney dialysis machine), among other features.The research thus led them to two compounds that are thought to be residences.

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