7 Years Later, No Closer To Bin Laden

Seven years after Sept. 11, 2001, in spite of President Bush's vows, the mastermind of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil, Osama bin Laden, is still at large and leading a resurgent al Qaeda.

Since that day, al Qaeda has struck in Madrid, London, Bali, and Casablanca, reports CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar. The group has claimed more than a dozen terror attacks around the world and many hundreds more in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving thousands of dead and wounded.

"These attacks are stark reminders that the threat of terrorism is real and still a danger to the entire world," said Maj. Gen. Robert Cone, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

Thursday morning at Camp Eggers, near Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers closest to the hunt for bin Laden remembered the people killed seven years ago in Washington and New York.

The last time the U.S. knew for certain bin Laden's whereabouts, he was leading the battle at Tora Bora. He slipped away, into the mountains along the border shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The conventional wisdom is that that is where he remains - probably in Pakistan, but the trail is very cold.

"He's a good survivalist, a skilled survivalist," explains Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service. "He reads about what the U.S. methods are and he's obviously working very hard to defeat those methods. He's using personal messengers. He's not on a cell phone."

U.S. tactics have shifted, now the American military is using Predator drones to spy from the air, focusing on the tribal area in northwestern Pakistan.

Hellfire missile attacks, launched from Predators, have more than tripled against targets inside Pakistan - a renewed effort to break al Qaeda's central command and deny them shelter with their Taliban allies across the border in Afghanistan.

The New York times reports this morning that after months of internal debate, President Bush has secretly approved orders that for the first time, permit U.S. Special Forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of Pakistan's government.

A commando operation in Pakistan last week is reported to have involved more than two dozen Navy SEALs, who spent hours on the ground.

Pakistan's government says the raid resulted in many civilian deaths. What is for certain, the attack has angered a government that is sensitive about its sovereignty.
  • CBSNews

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.