ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 20 -- Taliban authorities in Afghanistan say U.S. attacks on alleged terrorist bases run by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden have destroyed at least three camps near Khost, some 90 miles (144 km) south of Kabul. Taliban sources in Peshawar, in western Pakistan, confirmed widespread destruction at six sites near the Pakistan border. Three of the sites were identified as Salman Farcy, Al-Badar and Tajik camps. Other possible targets include Miranshah and Zawar camps in the same area. Taliban sources said a raid on Jalalabad, east of the Afghan capital Kabul, failed to hit its target, a house owned by bin Laden. There are conflicting reports on whether 42-year-old bin Laden survived the attacks, launched between 9:20 and 9:45 p.m. Pakistan time (12:20 and 12:45 p.m. EDT). Nearly simultaneous strikes were launched against targets in Sudan. A Taliban spokesman at the militia's headquarters in Kandahar said bin Laden was safe but didn't disclose his whereabouts. In Peshawar, Taliban sources said bin Laden was in Khost early today but was later moved to a safe place. But a senior Pakistani official said he had information from Afghanistan indicating bin Laden had been killed. The official said the strikes were carried out from a Central Asian country, probably Uzbekistan. On Wednesday, Pakistan's foreign minister said his country would not allow a strike against Afghanistan to be launched from its soil. No information was available on whether the strikes were carried out by U.S. jet fighters or U.S. ships firing cruise missiles from the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean or the Persian Gulf. U.S. jets could have taken off from Turkey, Muscat or Diego Garcia and flown over either Central Asia or Pakistan en route to Afghanistan, refueling in midair if necessary.
Earlier this week, Taliban leader Mullah Omar told a Pakistani newspaper the militia would not hand over bin Laden to the United States. He denied the Saudi dissident was involved in bombing the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. government has accused bin Laden of orchestrating the Aug. 7 attacks, which killed more than 250 people and wounded thousands. ---
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