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Bin Laden 'alive and in Pakistan'

Osama bin Laden

(CNN) -- Intelligence indicates Osama bin Laden is alive, Pakistan's president says, and the top U.S. military official in Afghanistan believes the al Qaeda leader is probably in Pakistan.

On a visit to The Hague in the Netherlands Monday, Pervez Musharraf told reporters that interrogations of captured al Qaeda operatives and technological evidence indicate bin Laden is alive.

But when asked about bin Laden's current whereabouts, Musharraf replied: "Oh no, I don't know where he is. I wish I did," according to The Associated Press.

Lt. Gen. David Barno, commander of U.S-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, told Reuters news agency that top al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, were more likely to be in Pakistan than Afghanistan.

"We see relatively little evidence of senior al Qaeda personality figures being here (in Afghanistan) because they can feel more protected by their foreign fighters in remote areas inside Pakistan," he said on Monday.

Barno also said no major al Qaeda figures had been caught or killed in Afghanistan since 2002, but Pakistan has arrested or killed dozens linked to the network since March.

Lt. Col. Pam Keaton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, confirmed to CNN that Barno's comments were accurately reported by Reuters.

The comments came on the same day that Pakistani officials said police had killed one of the most wanted militants in the country, a man suspected of being a top al Qaeda operative. (Full story)

Amjad Hussain Farooqi was killed in an early morning raid in the small city of Nawab Shah, southern Pakistan, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told CNN on Monday.

Farooqi, who had a price of 2 million rupees ($34,000) on his head, has been accused of being involved in a spate of attacks.

He was a suspect in two assassination attempts against Musharraf last year in which 15 people were killed and 45 wounded. Farooqi is also a suspect in the kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl two years ago, Ahmed said.

Pakistan, which has enraged Islamic militants by supporting Washington's campaign against terrorism, is leading its own operations to track down al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, particularly in tribal regions near its border with that country.

Islamabad has also been putting pressure on tribal leaders not to give shelter to al Qaeda or Taliban remnants believed to be in the area and possibly regrouping for new operations in Afghanistan.

The United States has no official involvement in those military efforts but has offered support.

Coalition forces in Afghanistan have been on bin Laden's trail for two and a half years in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Following the attacks, in which almost 3,000 people died, the U.S. government named bin Laden as a prime suspect.

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