U.S. spy chief George Tenet made a secret visit to Islamabad last week as American and Pakistani troops began a major operation to hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda fugitives believed to be hiding along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.
The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency met with senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials as Pakistan’s leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, started deploying thousands of his nation’s troops into the semi-autonomous tribal region of Waziristan. The territory has become a sanctuary for al Qaeda fighters who fled Afghanistan after the U.S. toppled the Taliban regime in 2001.
U.S. troops are searching for al Qaeda leaders inside Afghanistan. Pakistani officials have said the operation on their side of the border with Afghanistan will be the biggest yet to hunt for Mr. bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. But Pakistani officials have denied some media reports that American troops would be participating in the offensive inside Pakistani territory.