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Closing in on Osama

It is likely that Osama bin Laden's hideout has been located. A complex game of cat-and-mouse is being played out in world media as well as on the ground in Afghanistan. For some days, it has been believed that Osama bin Laden was in a tunnel complex dug in northeastern Afghanistan, in the Ourzugan area. To further this belief, the Taliban sent truckloads of provisions to the town between the 15th and 20th of September.

British SAS forces operating in Afghanistan became convinced at one point that bin Laden was in Jalalabad, to the point that they almost assaulted the sites where they believed he was hiding.

Russian intelligence has apparently been instrumental in identifying his actual hiding place, which is in the Pamir mountain range. The specific area is a panhandle surrounded by Xinjiang Province, a Moslem part of China, Tajikistan and Pakistan. During the Russo-Afghan war, this area, known as Little Pamir, was taken over by the Soviet Union. ICBMs were stored in the area, in order to give Moscow the potential to launch a third strike in a nuclear war. The base was controlled by Russia even after they left Afghanistan in 1988, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992.

Osama bin Laden took control of the site in 1994, immediately upon arriving in Afghanistan from Sudan. The site is amply supplied with electricity, and the extensive, nuclear-hardened, deep underground facilities can support hundreds of people for years.

The only way of attacking this redoubt will be via hand-to-hand combat, unless fuel-air weapons could deplete the oxygen inside the tunnels. Not even nuclear weapons would be likely to be effective unless bored deep into the ground.

An advance party of US special forces may have been launched toward the redoubt from Tajikistan three days ago. They are now believed to be in the immediate area of the site.

Among the weapons believed to be in their possession is a new twin-barreled rifle. One barrel fires 5.56 mm caliber ammunition, while the other is a 20 mm cannon. This is an extremely powerful weapon, probably the most powerful rifle ever devised. Another weapon can destroy a single individual in a group by striking them with a powerful laser beam. Special communications devices enable the soldiers to speak to each other without emitting any sound from their helmets.

The units may be supported by F-15s armed with GBU-15 smart bombs capable of extraordinary accuracy.

Insight: We cannot be certain of any story coming out of the battle zone. However, there are many reasons to believe that bin Laden is in Little Pamir, and it is certainly possible that US forces are closing in on him at this time.

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