Afghanistan: January 25, 2005


The United States is considering increasing its bounty for Osama bin Laden to $50 million, and changing the terms of payment and how the offer is being publicized. Bin Laden is not being protected by individuals, but by tribes. If someone provides the information that leads to bin Laden's capture, that person, and their tribe, will be tagged as a "traitor to Islam" by other Pushtun tribes, who still consider bin Laden, and the Taliban, to be heroes. Thus an offer of reward has to include terms that enable to recipients to be able to actually benefit from the reward. At present, this includes moving the informer, and his extended family, out of the area. But many potential informers don't want to go into exile. As American Special Forces spend more time working in the tribal areas, they hear more of potential informants who did not step forward because of crucial details like this. Exactly what changes are being made to the reward program are being kept secret, apparently to safeguard potential informers. 




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