BIN LADEN AND AL-ZAWAHIRI ARE NOT IN PAKISTAN, ARE THEY?

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ISLAMABAD. March 26, 2004. (RIA Novosti). There is no either terrorist No.1 Osama bin Laden or "his right hand" Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Pakistan, the Frontier Post newspaper quoted Saleh Hayat, the Pakistani interior minister, as saying on Friday.

In the course of a large-scale anti-terrorist operation which is being carried out since February 18 in the autonomous region of South Waziristan (a group of Pashto tribes - Wazirs living here gave this name to the region) bordering on Afghanistan more than 140 foreign militants and their Pakistani henchmen were arrested. This was disclosed in the press release of the military information service circulated in Islamabad.

It was reported earlier that bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri could be among the encircled militants. However this information was not confirmed during the operation.

The official spokesmen, both civilian and military, are refusing so far to disclose the nationality of the captured and destroyed militants, only saying that there are many foreigners among them.

The Pakistani Interior Minister reported that over ten days of the operation 33 Pakistani soldiers and frontier-guards had been killed and another 36 wounded.

As the Dawn newspaper writes, the total number of the Pakistani servicemen engaged in the operation has reached 14,000 men and officers with armory, artillery and aviation. Servicemen from other countries, including the USA, are not fighting on the Pakistani side in this region.

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