Taliban: Bin Laden's Hiding in Afghanistan
Cohort offered to arrange meeting, says Pakistan inmate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 3:08 AM CST
Taliban militants hold their weapons at a undisclosed location in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is hiding out in Ghanzi, according to a detainee.   (AP Photo/Rahmatullah Naikzad)

(Newser) – A high-ranking Taliban member in Pakistani custody claims a cohort offered to arrange a meeting with Osama bin Laden earlier this year, and that the al-Qaeda leader is in eastern Afghanistan, not northern Pakistan as widely believed, the detainee told a BBC reporter. The inmate, who met with bin Laden numerous times before 9/11, says he spoke to a bin Laden contact from Afghanistan's Ganzi province, which is largely a no-go area for Afghan and coalition troops.

"If it's true—a big if—this is an extraordinary and important story," said a former CIA analyst. "Someone who has come forward and said, really for the first time, 'I met with Osama Bin Laden and I had the opportunity to meet him again in the recent past.'" The detainee's motives for talking are unclear, and Western interrogators have not been granted access to him.