India-Pakistan: October 31, 2004

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  Two hundred of the three hundred American troops stationed, since late 2001, Lal Shahbaz airbase at Jacobabad. Pakistan, have been withdrawn. The U.S. air force personnel supported American military flights that moved through the Pakistani base, usually to refuel. The Pakistani bases are not used as much now, and a minimal force of American troops will remain, just in case there is an increase in activity.

In the Pakistan tribal areas near the Afghan border, hostile tribesmen continued to fire rockets, and rifles, at army troops and tribesmen loyal to the government. Rumors continue to circulate that Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, are hiding in the hills along the border. But sightings of convoys of SUVs and trucks, carrying armed men and, it is assumed, someone very important, fuel the rumors. However, such convoys are fairly common, and usually contain a local warlord, illegal drugs, or both. There are also reports that some "foreign guests" in the tribal areas are worried about the effect the multi-million dollar rewards for the capture of the "foreign guests" is having on their tribal hosts. The latest video confirms that bin Laden is alive. While bin Laden is a hero to many Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, to some he is also a potential shortcut to fabulous wealth.

 

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