Bin Laden hiding in Pakistan, say US intelligence

The Bush administration sparked a sharp exchange with Pakistani leaders by asserting that it would consider using force on Pakistani soil should U.S. intelligence discover that Osama bin Laden or other al-Qaeda targets are taking shelter there.

U.S. Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend said the United States would pursue “actionable targets” in Pakistan and elsewhere. U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Michael McConnell made similar comments, saying he believes bin Laden is alive and is hiding in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The statements by McConnell and Townsend drew a sharp response from Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Pakistan’s foreign minister, who said U.S.-led strikes in Pakistan would be “completely counterproductive”.

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