— Pakistani authorities are gearing up for a drive to root out al Qaeda and its top leaders, such as Osama bin Laden, believed to be hiding in remote tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, officials said this weekend. Reuters news agency reported that by Saturday, Pakistani political authorities governing the semi-autonomous tribal regions asked for 8,000 paramilitary soldiers to add to the 4,000 already deployed. The United States is preparing for its "spring offensive" against militants both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as part of an organized effort to find the biggest catch, bin Laden.
And a report in the New York Times this weekend looks at a government investigation into the terror manufacturing of bomb explosives, finding that there exists a vast global network for bomb-making which has used the same technology for use in attacks in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Linkages between the various attacks suggests that while al Qaeda itself may be weakened due to successful international counterterror operations led by the U.S., parts of its network may still be training a wide generation of militants spread out across the world in bomb-making skills.
THE WAR ON TERROR
Pakistan Gears Up for Anti-Al Qaeda Operation
Pakistani authorities are gearing up for a drive against al Qaeda and Taliban militants in remote western tribal areas and have sought the deployment of more paramilitary troops, officials said Sunday. (Reuters)
New Offensive Against Al Qaeda
Pakistani and U.S. forces have been mobilised on a large scale on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border in search of al Qaeda and Taliban men amidst arrest of seven Afghan nomads in Khost province of Afghanistan. (Hi Pakistan)
Report: Bin Laden Cornered In Pakistan's Northwest
U.S. and British special forces have cornered al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a mountainous area in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, media reported. (AFP)
ABCNEWS has learned through intelligence sources that media reports of bin Laden's capture are false.
Speculations About Possible Arrest of Al Zawahri Soon
There was speculation among U.S. media offices in Cairo that the U.S. was about to arrest al Qaeda's number two Ayman Al Zawahri, reports Al Hayat newspaper. Informed Pakistani sources told the paper that they've seen pictures taken by a U.S. spy plane of al Zawahri in the Waziristan area. In a separate story, the paper said that al Zawahri was sighted in an area close to Banu in Waziristan. (Al Hayat)
Man Arrested For Contacting Qaeda
Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency's Special Investigation Group (SIG) on Friday night took into custody a person from Islamabad for his alleged links with Al Qaeda, sources told Daily Times. (Daily Times — Pakistan)
Anti-Terror Agency Keeping Low Profile
The Advanced Research and Development Activity is not a secret federal office, but it might as well be. (AP)
U.S. Intensifies Anti-Terrorism Strategy in Africa
The commander of U.S. forces in Europe met South African President Thabo Mbeki on Friday for talks on America's new security strategy in Africa to combat terrorism, military officials said. (Reuters)
Sweeping New Powers in U.K. War On Terror Blunkett pledges huge increase in MI5 staff. Phone tap evidence to be allowed in court. (The Observer)
U.S. Agency Sees Global Network for Bomb Making