No intelligence on bin Laden - US


The United States does not know where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding and has not had any good intelligence on his whereabouts in years, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday.

Speaking in an interview to be aired today on ABC's This Weekprogramme, Mr Gates also said he could not confirm reports this week that a detainee might have seen bin Laden in Afghanistan earlier this year.

We don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is. If we did, we'd go and get him," Mr Gates said in excerpts released by ABC.

Asked when was the last time the United States had any good intelligence on his whereabouts, Gates said, "I think it's been years."

The BBC reported earlier this week that a detainee in Pakistan claimed to have information that bin Laden was in Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan in January or February.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report late last month that blamed the lack of concerted efforts by former president George W. Bush's administration and US military commanders for allowing bin Laden to escape from the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan in late 2001.