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No intelligence for years on bin Laden hideout-Gates - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden addresses a news conference in Afghanistan in this May 26, 1998 file photo (REUTERS)

Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden addresses a news conference in Afghanistan in this May 26, 1998 file photo (REUTERS)

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The United States does not know where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding and has not had any good intelligence on his whereabouts in years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Saturday.

Speaking in an interview to be aired on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program, Gates also said he could not confirm reports this week that a detainee might have seen bin Laden in Afghanistan earlier this year.

“We don’t know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is. If we did, we’d go and get him,” Gates said in excerpts released by ABC.

Asked when was the last time the United States had any good intelligence on his whereabouts, Gates said, “I think it’s been years.”

The British Broadcasting Corp reported earlier this week that a detainee in Pakistan claimed to have information that bin Laden was in Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan in January or February.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report late last month that blamed the lack of concerted efforts by former President George W. Bush’s administration and U.S. military commanders for allowing bin Laden to escape from the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 3, 2009, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan (AP)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 3, 2009, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan (AP)

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani look at coffins during the funeral of army personell who were killed in a Mosque attack, Rawalpindi, December 5, 2009 (AFP)

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani look at coffins during the funeral of army personell who were killed in a Mosque attack, Rawalpindi, December 5, 2009 (AFP)