US troops to track down Bin Laden

SPECULATION ROSE last night that the United States was planning a military operation against Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile whom it blames for last year's African embassy bombings.

A television station in the Gulf state of Qatar reported that US aircraft had landed in Pakistan with commandos for a mission against Mr bin Laden, who is believed to be in neighbouring Afghanistan. The US discounted the reports, but there has been increasing speculation in the past week that Washington would strike against Mr bin Laden around the time of the bombing anniversary.

Bombs at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on 7 August last year killed and wounded hundreds. The US blamed Mr bin Laden, issued an indictment against him and put a $5m (pounds 3.12m) price on his head, but it has yet to find him. It has asked the Taliban, which controls much of Afghanistan and is said to be sheltering him, to extradite Mr bin Laden, but they have refused.

Al-Jazeerah television reported yesterday military aircraft carrying dozens of commandos had landed at Islamabad airport and another neighbouring airfield. "This is an inaccurate report and should not be taken seriously," said David Leavy, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House.

The broadcast cited "informed Pakistani sources" for the report. "The sources said Pakistani officers and the personnel of the two air bases were banned from coming close to the two aircraft, which, it is believed, would probably take part in striking Afghan targets," it said. "The sources confirmed the arrival of scores of US commandos to Islamabad. It is believed that they will take part in such an operation." The report added that the US embassy in Islamabad had secretly been evacuating dependents of diplomatic personnel.

At the weekend, the Republican Senator Orrin Hatch hinted at the possibility of an operation against Mr bin Laden. "The CIA, FBI and others are right on top of it. We know where he is, we know what his activities are, and we've just got to stay ever alert. This menace has got to end someday, and I think we'll find some way of doing that," he said. "Ultimately, we're going to get him."

There were reports from Pakistan and Afghanistan last week that American troops were mobilising in the area, and that Mr bin Laden was preparing to move. "Osama has decided to leave Afghanistan because of fears of expected attacks from the US and also because of how much more Afghanistan can suffer because of him," said the Afghanistan Islamic Press, a news agency. The Taliban government later denied this.

The US responded to the embassy bombings with missile attacks against what it said were terrorist facilities in Sudan and Afghanistan. But the owner of the plant which was hit in Khartoum said it was a pharmaceutical factory. America has yet to produce any evidence to the contrary. The US has also arrested several people for knowledge of the bombings, though none have come to trial. Although America has released some of the details of the evidence against them and against Mr bin Laden, there is nothing publicly available to directly link Mr bin Laden to any attacks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin