After 7 Years, New Tactics to Find bin Laden

Shift to targeting other al-Qaeda leaders in hopes of picking up trail
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2008 7:57 AM CDT
In this undated photo, Osama bin Laden is seen in Afghanistan. President Bush said he didn't care how Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. Just get him. That was back in 2001.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Seven years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the US has no bead on Osama bin Laden, believed to be hiding out in Pakistan's lawless northwest. Frustrated by the lack of progress, American and Pakistani officials have shifted their strategy to target other top al-Qaeda leaders, the Washington Post reports, stepping up the use of drone spy planes to bombard the mountainous region.

Eleven Predator strikes have been reported this year, compared with three in 2007. In interviews with the Post, US and Pakistani leaders attribute their failure to catch bin Laden to a weak network of contacts in Pakistan's tribal regions. Both the Iraq war and serial bombardment have alienated locals, who see America as the enemy. "The American strategy should have been to stabilize the area rather than look for a needle in a haystack,"  one Pakistani security official tells the Post.