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U-S Launches New al-Qaida Hunt in Southeastern - 2002-08-22


A U-S military spokesman in Afghanistan says coalition forces have launched a new operation against al-Qaida fighters in the southeastern part of the country.

The spokesman (Col. Roger King) at Bagram air base - north of Kabul - told reporters today (Thursday) coalition forces and allied Afghan militiamen are conducting operations in the Zormat region of Paktia province, which borders Pakistan.

He said coalition forces have so far captured small weapons caches and detained three people.

The U-S military spokesman said he was only confirming what Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Fahim reported Wednesday.

The Afghan minister also said he believes former Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is alive, adding that al-Qaida terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden is "probably alive" too. He said both men may be living like nomads, moving between border areas of Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan.

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