US secret service agents operating in the remote border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan claim to have found five letters signed by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, Saudi daily Al-Watan said on Thursday.
Citing unnamed local security sources, the newspaper said that the letters are allegedly handwritten in Arabic and bear Bin Laden’s apparent signature and seal.
They appear to have been sent last December to some of Bin Laden’s followers in the region.
One of the letters is addressed to the Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s volatile southern province of Helmand, Mansoor Dadallah.
In the letter, Bin Laden reportedly offers condolences to Dadallah, the brother of Mullah Dadallah, late Taliban leader in Helmand, who was killed last year in a US air strike.
After his brother’s death, Mansoor Dadullah claimed he had received a letter from Bin Laden in an interview with satellite Arabic TV network Al-Jazeera.
Mansoor spent several years in jail and was freed in March 2007 as part of a deal that secured the release of kidnapped Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who had been held by Taliban militants for two weeks.
The letter addressed to Dadullah also urges the Taliban to step up its attacks on NATO troops deployed in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al-Watan reported.
Western intelligence agents are currently analysing the letters for evidence of any contact with 14 alleged members of an Islamic fundamentalist group arrested in anti-terror raids in the north-east Spanish city of Barcelona on January 19.
Twelve Pakistani and two Indians allegedly belonging to Jamaat Al-Tabligh wal-Dawa (Society for Propagation and Preaching) were arrested in a series of police raids.
Police said they had found bomb-related material during the raids and that the operation was aimed at breaking up an Islamist terror network.