Where's bin Laden?

Nearly four years later, nobody seems to know.

By Mark Follman
Published June 16, 2005 6:49PM (EDT)

Nearly four years later, nobody seems to know.

"Osama bin Laden and Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar are not believed to be in Afghanistan anymore, the U.S. ambassador there said Thursday, raising fresh questions as to the whereabouts of the elusive terror mastermind," reports the Associated Press. "Zalmay Khalilzad, tapped by President Bush to be the next U.S. envoy to Iraq, did not reveal where the two might be hiding or whether his comment was based on new intelligence. 'Mullah Omar is not in Afghanistan. I do not believe that Osama is in Afghanistan,' Khalilzad said. His comments at a news conference in Kabul came a day after a purported Taliban commander said the pair were alive and well. Khalilzad defended the failure to catch bin Laden, saying, 'It is not an easy job to find one person ... in a vast region. It requires timely intelligence.'"

U.S. officials have long said they believed bin Laden was hiding in the rugged mountains along the Afghan-Pakistani border, so what about the other side?

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said this week, according to the AP, that he also doesn't "have a clear idea" where bin Laden is hiding.

Asked about bin Laden's whereabouts at a briefing Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said: "Who knows? ... I think there are other people who believe that [bin Laden is not in Afghanistan]. But we've talked a lot about this. When we've got him, we've got him."

And if they do get him, when and under what circumstances can we expect to find out about it? (Even more on that, here.)

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

MORE FROM Mark Follman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden War Room