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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 09:27 GMT
Musharraf: Bin Laden may be dead

The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, says he thinks there is a strong possibility that Osama Bin Laden may have been killed by the American bombing of Afghanistan.

Speaking during a visit to China, General Musharraf said the al-Qaeda leader could have died during airstrikes on caves in the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan.

He did not offer any new evidence in support of his statement.

The commander of American forces in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, said he was working on three possibilities - that Osama Bin Laden died around Tora Bora, that he was elsewhere in Afghanistan, or thirdly that he had slipped into Pakistan.

General Musharraf said he was reasonably sure that he had not escaped across the border into Pakistan.

He said Pakistani forces had sealed the border and were guarding about eight snow-covered mountain passes leading into Pakistan.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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