Has Osama bin Laden fled with his family?

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The Independent Online

Confusion surrounded the movements of Osama bin Laden yesterday as a Taliban envoy was quoted as saying he had left Afghanistan with his wife and children.

The Pentagon immediately said it had no evidence to support the claim – and the man quoted immediately denied saying any such thing.

"We have no idea where he has gone," the Taliban's envoy to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, was reported to have said as he crossed into Pakistan after visiting the movement's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, in Kandahar.

Mr Zaeef later told Agence France Presse that he had never said that Bin Laden had left the country. "This is a lie attributed to me." A translation error was blamed.

The US military had no evidence to suggest their prime suspect for the 11 September attacks had left Afghanistan, said a Pentagon spokesman. The Taliban could be trying to misdirect the hunt for Mr bin Laden to protect him, he said. "Our search continues."