Is Bin Laden Dead or Alive? US, Pakistan Not Sure

"No Trace" of al-Qaeda Leader, State Dept Vows to Keep Looking

Since his March broadcast on al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has seemingly vanished off the face of the earth, with neither US nor Pakistan spy agencies detecting a single trace of him. This has added to the speculation that he may have died.

“The question is whether he is alive or dead,” Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said, “there is no trace of him.” Zardari also said his advisers feel there is substance to the rumors of bin Laden’s failing health, and that “they obviously feel that he does not exist any more but that’s not confirmed.”

US State Department spokesman Robert Wood likewise admitted that they likewise “have no information that indicates that Osama bin Laden is … frankly dead or alive.” He insisted in the meantime the US would continue to operate under the assumption that he was alive and keep looking for him.

The enigmatic Saudi has been on the FBI’s ten most wanted list for over a decade, and US officials have repeatedly speculated that he is located somewhere along the mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. At this point though, that seems to be nothing more than a guess.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.