Volume 95, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
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UWO Muslims celebrate Ramadan

Ombuds listens to our bitchin' and moanin'

U.S. offers bounty for Osama

'Funshawe' might get call centre

Ontario researchers shed new light on AIDS

News Briefs

U.S. offers bounty for Osama

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

The United States is now relying on vigilant justice to help capture the elusive Osama bin Laden and, it appears, at least some of the U.S.-led bombing may come to a halt so that surrenders can be negotiated.

"Like snowflakes in December in Chicago," the U.S. military is dropping leaflets across Afghanistan advertising a $25 million bounty for bin Laden and his top aides, said U.S. Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The reward, in addition to separate money offered by the CIA, should encourage "a large number of people to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves, looking for the bad folks," Rumsfeld said.

U.S.-led air strikes have already claimed the lives of several key al-Qaida and Taliban leaders, but the world's most wanted terrorist remains at large.

Speaking from Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said American forces were getting closer to apprehending the central suspect in numerous terrorist attacks including the Sept. 11 hijackings.

"The noose is beginning to narrow," he said. "If our military knew where Mr. bin Laden was, he would be brought to justice."

Bush said he could not relate specific evidence of bin Laden's location, but, as more territory falls from the Taliban's grasp, the search area becomes smaller.

Rumsfled was less optimistic, saying the search will still take time.

"As enemy leaders become fewer and fewer, that does not necessarily mean that the task will become easier," he said. "People can hide in caves for long periods. This will take time."

Rumours indicate bin Laden may attempt to flee Afghanistan, possibly to neighbouring Pakistan, but his past indicates he is more likely to go underground in order to avoid capture.

In the 1980s, when bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan were at war with the Soviet Union, he spent millions creating a network of underground hide-outs and fortified bunkers out of an ancient network of water trenches.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon indicated they would be open to a halt in bombing if the process of negotiation and surrender between Taliban and rebel forces in Kunduz was at stake.

"If the opposition would ask us not to bomb a specific facility or location so they could continue discussion, we'll certainly honour that," said Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem.

–with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press

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