Walter Rodgers: Al Qaeda fighters say bin Laden nearby
TORA BORA, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Is Osama bin Laden still holing up in the mountain range near Tora Bora?
CNN's Walter Rodgers is following developments in the region. He filed this report.
RODGERS: Information gleaned from prisoners taken in fighting yesterday – Arabs in al Qaeda, fighting for Osama bin Laden – suggests that these fighters believe that bin Laden was still in the Tora Bora mountain region as recently as Saturday.
These Arabs – including two Saudis – say they believe bin Laden was still in the mountains just two days ago. They did not, however, give information to suggest why they believe this.
Still, it appears that U.S. military commanders have reason to believe that bin Laden, or the remnants of his al Qaeda fighters, are in those mountains. There has been extraordinarily heavy bombing, particularly overnight.
U.S. bombers are taking advantage of thermal imaging. Additionally, throughout today, U.S. Navy planes have been flying overhead, dropping two to three bombs per plane in those mountains.
Once interesting thing – the bombing line has been moving further away from us. Whereas three or four days ago, the bombing was just on the ridge behind, perhaps three miles away, now we're hearing bombs falling perhaps eight or nine miles behind us – perhaps that area being the last remaining sanctuary of the al Qaeda fighters and perhaps bin Laden.
The bombs appear to be falling closer and closer to the Afghan border with Pakistan.
Prisoners say bin Laden still in Afghanistan
December 17, 2001
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