LONDON – A senior Taliban commander says Osama bin Laden is alive and in contact with leaders of Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents, according to an interview aired on British television.
Mullah Dadullah said he had not met bin Laden since the fall of the Taliban regime after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but said “we know he’s still alive.”
“He’s not yet martyred. Such information would be easy to get — his comrades stand shoulder to shoulder with us. They keep us informed,” Dadullah said in an interview broadcast Wednesday by Channel 4 News.
The authenticity of the information could not be confirmed. Channel 4 did not say how it had obtained the footage, and it was not known when or where Dadullah made the comments, which were translated into English.
Dadullah, commander of Taliban operations in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan and a trusted associate of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, said bin Laden met outsiders rarely. Dadullah did not comment on bin Laden’s whereabouts.
“Only his comrades see him; we exchange messages with each other to share plans,” Dadullah said. “We also go to the battlefield together. We actually meet very rarely, just for important consultations. It’s hard for anyone to meet Bin Laden himself now, but we know he’s still alive.”
Dadullah said the Taliban had “hundreds more” suicide bombers ready to attack
NATO forces in Afghanistan. NATO commanders have said they believe the Taliban plans a spring offensive against alliance troops in the country.