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CIA director Leon Panetta : Whereabouts of Bin Laden unknown since 2000

Where is Osama Bin Laden? According to CIA director Leon Panetta, no one knows.

On an interview with ABC News, CIA director Leon Panetta has admitted that, there has been no credible intelligence on Osama Bin Laden since early 2000.

CIA Director Leon Panetta interview on "This Week."

According to CIA director Leon Panetta, Osama Bin Laden has been in “deep hiding since early 2000” after “moving from Afghanistan to Pakistan that we had the last precise information of where he might be located.”

Panetta’s first Network News interview since becoming the director of the CIA, came after 16 months on the month of the deadliest attacks on NATO forces and the second deadliest month for U.S. soldiers with at least 52 dead.

Another very important comment from the 72-year-old CIA director came after being asked whether there was any progress against the Taliban? Panetta replied “it’s harder, it’s slower than anyone anticipated”.

When asked by ABC News, Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper about the “latest thinking on where Osama Bin Laden is? What kind of health he is in? And what kind of control or contact he has with Al Qaeda?” Panetta replied “He is obviously in very deep hiding, he’s in the tribal areas in Pakistan which is very difficult. The terrain is probably one of the most difficult in the world. He has tremendous security around him.”

“When’s the last time we had good intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden? It’s been a while. I think it almost goes back to the early 2000’s in terms of actually when he was moving from Afghanistan to Pakistan that we had the last precise information of where he might be located. Since then it has been very difficult, to get any intelligence on his exact location.”

When asked by Tapper whether the Taliban are getting stronger or weaker than when you (Panetta) first got the post of CIA director, Panetta replied “The president said it best of all, this a very tough fight that we are engaged in. There are some serious problems, we’re dealing with tribal society, were dealing with countries with a problem with governance, problems with corruption, problems with narcotics trafficking, problems with Taliban insurgency,”

“And yet the fundamental purpose the mission the president laid out is that we have to go after Al Qaeda, we have to disrupt and dismantle Al Qaeda and their allies so that they do not attack this country ever again,”

When asked if there was any progress against the Taliban Panetta replied, “it’s harder, it’s slower than anyone anticipated, at the same time we are seeing increasing violence particularly in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces,”

But Panetta did believe that “we are making progress” due to the increasing attacks by NATO, U.S. and GB forces on the hierarchy of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Panetta continued “Is the strategy, the right strategy? We think so, because we’re looking at about 100,000 troops being added at the end of August. If we add the troops from NATO, we have 150,000 troops. That’s a very significant force combined with Afghan forces.

Panetta also spoke of the “fundamental key” to success in Afghanistan, saying “I think the fundamental key, the key to success or failure, is whether the Afghans except responsibility, are able to deploy an effective army and police force to maintain stability,

“If they can do that, then I think where going to be able to achieve the kind of progress and the kind of stability that the president is after.”

The CIA director also believes that that Taliban is stronger but also weaker in some areas after president Obama came to office after being asked whether the Taliban has gotten stronger after Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States.

“I think the Taliban obviously is engaged in greater violence right now. They’re doing more on IED’s. They’re going after our troops. There’s no question about that, in some ways their stronger” said Panetta and continued “but in some ways their weaker as well. I think the fact that we are disrupting Al Qaeda’s operations in the tribal areas in Pakistan, I think the fact that we are targeting Taliban leadership, you saw what happened yesterday (Saturday)to one of the leaders dressed as a woman being taken down. We are engaged in operations with the military that is going after the Taliban leadership,

“I think all of that has weakened them at the same time. So in some areas with regard of some of the directed violence they seem to be stronger but the fact is we are undermining their leadership and I think that is moving in the right direction.“

Panetta also spoke of the amount of Al Qaeda militants there are in Afghanistan saying there is only around 50 to 100 at most, but that the members of the terrorist organization is mostly situated in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

It is presumed that the Al Qaeda and Taliban mainly go into Afghanistan to carry out attacks on NATO and other troops.

When asked “What does wining in Afghanistan look like?” Panetta replied “Winning in Afghanistan is having a country that is stable enough to ensure that there is no safe haven for Al Qaeda or for a militant Taliban that welcomes Al Qaeda.

“That’s really the measure of success for the United States. Our purpose our whole mission there is to make sure Al Qaeda never finds a safe haven from which to attack this country.

“That’s the fundamental goal, that’s why the United States is there and the measure of success for us is, do we have an Afghanistan stable enough to make sure that never happens.”

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