NATO officials believe that Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are living in safe houses in Pakistan and are being protected by Pakistan’s intelligence services, according to a new report from CNN.

“Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.

Rather, al Qaeda’s top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services, the official said.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied protecting members of the al Qaeda leadership.

The official said the general region where bin Laden is likely to have moved around in recent years ranges from the mountainous Chitral area in the far northwest near the Chinese border, to the Kurram Valley which neighbors Afghanistan’s Tora Bora, one of the Taliban strongholds during the U.S. invasion in 2001.

“Tora Bora is also the region from which bin Laden is believed to have escaped during a U.S. bombing raid in late 2001,” CNN noted.

This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 18, 2010.


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