BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 19 October, 2001, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Geologist's clue to Bin Laden location
Osama Bin Laden filmed in cave
Western intelligence fears Bin Laden has moved on
An American geologist who spent years in Afghanistan believes he has narrowed down the location of terror suspect Osama Bin Laden to sandstone caves south of Kabul.

Jack Shroder, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, reported his conclusions to US security agencies after assessing a cave that featured in a Bin Laden video released after the first US bombs fell on the Afghanistan on 7 October.

I turned to my wife and told her 'I know where he is'

Jack Shroder
He said the cave was typical of the Paktia or Paktika provinces of the Katawaz basin, about 210 kilometres (130 miles) south of the Afghan capital.

Dr Shroder added, however, that the quality of the video was too poor to be absolutely certain.

"I turned to my wife and told her 'I know where he is'," the geologist said after watching the video, which was released after the US began its military campaign to bring to Bin Laden to justice for the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington.

Unique experience

The kind of sedimentary rock shown can only be found in Paktia or Paktika, an unidentified British geologist has confirmed.
Map of Paktika and Paktia

It comes from the Katawaz basin, which features hundreds of valleys and ridges, and the rock's natural weakness makes it vulnerable to bombing.

Dr Shroder said he was the only American geologist to have worked in Afghanistan in the 1970s. He was in charge of developing a national atlas for the country until his expulsion in 1978 amid allegations of espionage.

He said he had a knack for identifying rock formations on film, often querying backgrounds used by Hollywood.

US officials have discussed the information with Dr Shroder but point out that Bin Laden is unlikely to have stayed in the same place since the video was made.

See also:

19 Sep 01 | UK
The SAS: Primed for action
18 Oct 01 | Americas
Life sentences for embassy bombers
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories