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America on Osama trail in Pakistan

Islamabad, Feb. 27 (PTI): CIA paramilitary officers and other US personnel, some of them disguised as 'civilian contractors', are in Pakistan to hunt for al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to a media report.

The Congressional Research Service, which advises US Congress and writes policy briefs for the country's lawmakers, said in a recent report that some of these agents are based in Pakistan as 'civilian contractors'.

The CRS report also said both Laden and Zawahiri escaped the December 2001 US war in Afghanistan and 'according to most assessments, fled into Pakistan, where they have continued to elude capture by Pakistani forces and agents', the Dawn newspaper reported on Friday.

A Pakistani offensive against suspected terrorist hideouts in south Waziristan in March last year also 'failed' to find these two or other major al Qaida leaders, the report added. In December 2004, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged the 'trail has gone cold,' it said.

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