Musharraf's regime, fresh from several bloody defeats, is surrendering to the local Waziristan Taliban, and allowing them to carve out a state-within-a-state–you know, the sort of thing Condi Rice keeps claiming we can't be allowing. Surprised? Don't be. Musharraf was never your buddy. First he made AQ Khan off-limits and safe within Pakistan; now, Bin Laden. I am curious to see the Bush administration's response. I suspect it will be nothing. The only thing that would surprise me is a virile response.
Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.
The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.
If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."
Bin Laden is believed to be hiding somewhere in the tribal areas of Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, but U.S. officials say his precise location is unknown.
In addition to the pullout of Pakistani troops, the "peace agreement" between Pakistan and the Taliban also provides for the Pakistani army to return captured Taliban weapons and prisoners.
"What this means is that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism director.