The Saudi-born militant wanted for the September 11 attacks on the United States nine years ago was being protected by local people and “some members of the Pakistani intelligence services,” CNN said.
“Nobody in Al-Qaeda is living in a cave,” the unnamed senior NATO official reportedly told the network.
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.
“The official also confirmed the US assessment that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, has moved between the cities of Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan over the last several months,” said the report on CNN’s website.
It said the NATO official could not be named “because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved”.
With additional reporting by RAW STORY.
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 18, 2010.