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November 18, 2004
Osama Impotent: Central Command

The deputy commander at Central Command told a press conference today that the Pakistani Army has cut off Osama bin Laden from his organization to such an extent that bin Laden can no longer direct terror operations (via Drudge):

Pakistan's military has been so effective in pressuring al-Qaida leaders hiding in the tribal region of western Pakistan that Osama bin Laden and his top deputies no longer are able to direct terrorist operations, a senior American commander said Thursday.

"They are living in the remotest areas of the world without any communications other than courier with the outside world or their people and unable to orchestrate or provide command and control over a terrorist network," said Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command.

"They are basically on the run and unable to really conduct operations except, in the very long term, provide vision and guidance as Osama bin Laden does when he provides one of those tapes," he added, alluding to a bin Laden video tape released three weeks ago.

Obviously, I'd prefer to see Osama perp-walked back to the US to stand trial for the cowardly murder of 3,000 American civilians, but that seems to be getting closer. It's important not to underestimate what can be done with couriers, but when one cannot guarantee the reliability of the communication, it is limiting in the extreme.

Winter gets quite harsh in that region, so it is somewhat surprising that Pakistan has made the commitment to keep the pressure on all through the season. It's the right thing to do, of course, but it's still nice to see Pakistan playing along. With any luck, we'll bag them when they get desperate.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 18, 2004 5:23 PM

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