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Bin Laden 'still spends time in Afghanistan'

[ 2009-12-08 13:12]     字号 [] [] []  
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US National security adviser James Jones says Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden still spends some time inside Afghanistan.

Most recent US estimates have placed bin Laden inside Pakistan. But Jones, a retired general, told CNN the Al-Qaida leader is "sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border."

Jones says the US military and its allies in Afghanistan are "going to have to get after that" to ensure bin Laden is "once again on the run or captured or killed."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made similar comments on another Sunday morning talk show.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in one of three talk-show appearances that the US hasn't had any good intelligence for years on bin Laden's whereabouts.

Gates said he couldn't confirm recent reports that bin Laden had been seen recently in Afghanistan.

The defense chief also said Americans should expect a significant US military presence in Afghanistan for another two to four years.

Gates says the initial US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011 might involve only a small number of troops.

Gates says that just as in Iraq, the US will turn over provinces to homegrown security forces, allowing the United States to bring the number of troops down steadily.

He noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai talked in his inaugural address about taking over security control in all of Afghanistan in five years.

Gates rejected any suggestion that setting a transition date for withdrawing US forces in Afghanistan will embolden the Taliban.

He said the Taliban read the newspapers and are able to determine public opinion in the United States and Europe.

He doesn't believe the Taliban will be more aggressive and he would welcome it if they lay low until July 2011 - President Barack Obama's target date for the beginning of a withdrawal.

Gates said that would give coalition troops opportunities to make great progress in stabilizing Afghanistan.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Bin Laden 'still spends time in Afghanistan'

About the broadcaster:

Bin Laden 'still spends time in Afghanistan'

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.