Bin Laden trying to work with Zarqawi
Osama bin Laden or other senior al Qaeda leaders are trying to communicate with Abu Musab Zarqawi, who is operating what the United States concedes is a "very effective" terrorist ring in Iraq, a senior general said yesterday.
Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, the deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, said intelligence shows that bin Laden now communicates strictly through couriers. This is to avoid having his voice electronically intercepted, which could give away his location in the vast Pakistani tribal lands near Afghanistan.
"Hence you end up using very slow means of trying to communicate, whether it's couriers that carry compact discs from Pakistan or Afghanistan through Iran or through other countries to Zarqawi," Gen. Smith told reporters at the Pentagon.
The disclosure is further evidence that the Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who has maintained links with al Qaeda, now is apparently a full-fledged member. It means that American troops are trying to kill or capture one of al Qaeda's most effective and deadly terrorists, and perhaps the second-most-revered among Islamic militants, after bin Laden himself.