Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.
The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.
If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."In addition to the pullout of Pakistani troops, the "peace agreement" between Pakistan and the Taliban also provides for the Pakistani army to return captured Taliban weapons and prisoners.
"What this means is that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism director.
The agreement was signed on the same day President Bush said the United States was working with its allies "to deny terrorists the enclaves they seek to establish in ungoverned areas across the world."
The Pakistani Army had gone into Waziristan, under heavy pressure from the United States, but faced a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.
"They're throwing [in] the towel," said Alexis Debat, who is a Senior Fellow at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant. "They're giving al Qaeda and the Taliban a blank check and saying essentially make yourselves at home in the tribal areas," Debat said.GOI: Ahhh yes, Osama bin Forgotten. So I guess now we are at war with Pakistan as they announce their willingness to harbour terrorists or at the very least look the other way. Remember you're either with us or against us? How could we forget? This story undermines the Bush rhetoric speech of today. A speech where he apparently said we are at war with everyone: The Sunni, the Shia, Hezballah, Iran, communists, North Korea, "Islamofascists" and now Pakistan? But wait, if the Iranian regime are terrorists and we are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists or give aid and comfort to them then why are we negotiating with them to end their nuke program? Negotiating that obvioiusly includes incentives for Iran to hault enrichment so doesn't that constitute "aid?" According to the black and white Bush doctrine aren't we just supposed to bomb them back into the stone age? Damn it, I can't keep up with all their changing rhetoric!! Their spin is making me so dizzy I'm vomiting propaganda.
Bush cluelessly said today that if we left Iraq then the country would become a base for terrorists but it already IS a base for terrorists!! (pulling hair out of his beard as I don't have anymore hair on my head). This kind of empty rhetoric isn't going to solve the problem. Thomas Freidman said on the CBS news tonight that Bush claimed today that we're in the "fight for our lives"-- yet (as Freidman says) we didn't commit enough troops. Freidman went on to quote Bush again saying we are in the "fight for out lives"-- but we need a tax cut for the wealthy.
The Bush Republicans have taken the blue pill one too many times and are permanately caught in Alice's, "Wonderland" where wrong is right, up is down, and where exercising one's freedom of speech is "enabling" the 'Islamofascist communist whatever-the-new-made-up-boogyman-word of-the-day is. They are desperate to try to win this election in November so they are pulling out the old hits and trying some new garbage. Throwing it all against the wall to see what (if anything sticks). Excuse me if I hold my nose to plug out the stench of all the dog links that they are throwing our way.
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