Osama Bin Laden and Mohammad Omar have many friendly places to flee to, due to the fact that they have achieved almost cult status among many in the Moslem world, even though their presence would cause extreme embarrassment to the political leaders. This is the main reason why they would not be likely to flee very far from what has become their home for the last ten years.
Consequently, stories about possible whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden and Mohammad Omar in the Sudan, where the former lived for some years in the early 1990s, are purely speculation, because the Sudanese government has been quick to align itself against international terrorism.
Other countries quoted in press stories are Somalia, Yemen, Chechnya, the Philippines and Indonesia (Aceh). None of these would provide a viable option. Somalia’s flat terrain would place a fugitive there at great risk of being discovered and attacked. Indonesia and the Philippines are too far away for an escape from Afghanistan to be planned at present. The Yemeni government is trying to court the friendship of the USA and hiding in Chechnya, whose terrorists Osama Bin Laden has financed and supplied with equipment would place him at risk of capture by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
What is left is nearer to home, the most probable, and safest, hiding places being the Pashtun tribal areas of northern Pakistan or Pakistani Kashmir, which Bin laden has also equipped and financed. Although the Pakistani government is favourable to the United States of America, in both of these areas, Pakistani government authority is imposed by tribal elders who share a conservative vision of Islam. Both areas are sufficiently mountainous to provide a safe refuge in a rugged terrain, hostile to outsiders.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru