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Osama 'probably' in Pakistan's Waziristan: Clinton

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September 21, 2006 21:51 IST

Amid a spirited argument between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, former US president Bill Clinton on Thursday said the Al Qaeda leader is "probably" in the restive Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan.

"I think he's probably in Waziristan in the mountainous region of that semi-autonomous area of Pakistan, where they can move back and forth. And it's one of the reasons I think we have to do what we can to support the mission in Afghanistan. We need to step up our attempts to roll back the Taliban's gains in the south and try to intensify the hunt for him," Clinton told NBC channel's Today Show.

"But I think that he and (his deputy Ayman) Al-Zawahiri are probably there, hiding in the mountains in a place that's very difficult to reach," he said, amid a spat between Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, both visiting the US, on the issue of terrorism.

Clinton also said that the US "nearly got" the terror chief at least once during his administration.

Asked what had happened to all the goodwill of Clinton administration as the Al Qaeda continued to grow leading to the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said: "It wasn't just goodwill. We tried to kill bin Laden. And I signed an organisation to that effect. We nearly got him once. And we bombed one of his training camps."

In the wide-ranging interview, Clinton also slammed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for referring to US President George W Bush as the Devil. "I think that Hugo Chavez said something that was wrong yesterday, unbecoming a head of state and all that name-calling is undignified and not healthful, and it's not true."

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