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Afghan official believes bin Laden in Pakistan

By John Raedler
CNN Producer

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A high-ranking Afghan intelligence official tells CNN that he believes Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan.

Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in Afghanistan, says he has received "reliable information" that the terrorist leader paid a "large amount" of money to buy his way out of Afghanistan.

Tawheedi named Haji Zaman -- a well-known independent military commander -- as the man responsible for taking bin Laden across the border to Pakistan.

Ironically, Haji Zaman had recently been fighting against bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization.

But Tawheedi says he believes Haji Zaman was apparently persuaded -- by money -- to help the terrorist leader.

The intelligence official says his information is that Haji Zaman handed bin Laden over to the protection of an Islamic group in Pakistan.

Tawheedi says that recently Haji Zaman had requested a cease-fire in the Tora Bora region of southeastern Afghanistan, where bin Laden was believed to be hiding.

Tawheedi says he believes Haji Zaman wanted hostilities stopped so he could steal bin Laden out of the danger area to safety.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar told CNN Saturday that his country would arrest bin Laden if he does cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

"As far as Osama bin Laden is concerned our policy is clear. If he tries to enter Pakistan he will be arrested. He'll be put under detention. An investigation and interrogation will begin and then we will hand him over for being brought to justice," Sattar said.




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