“Nobody in al-Qaeda is living in a cave”—instead, Osama bin Laden and other top figures are likely to be living rather comfortably in houses in Pakistan, under the protection of locals and some Pakistani intelligence, a NATO official tells CNN. Bin Laden has likely been roaming from Pakistan’s far northwest to the Kurram Valley near Tora Bora in Afghanistan in recent years.
The region’s terrain is among Pakistan’s most difficult and it is populated with independent tribes, CNN notes. Meanwhile, Taliban boss Mullah Omar has divided his time between two Pakistani cities, the official said. “Every year the insurgency can generate more and more manpower” thanks to hundreds of thousands of “disaffected” young men along the Afghan-Pakistan border. But Pakistan’s interior minister said neither bin Laden nor Mullah Omar are in the country.
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