UNO GEOLOGIST - "I know where bin Laden is"greenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Published Tuesday October 16, 2001
UNO geologist: Video tells bin Laden's hiding place
BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
The image of Osama bin Laden that flickered on Jack Shroder's TV was grainy and brief, but it was all he needed.
"I turned to my wife," Shroder said, "and told her I know where he is."
Shroder, a geologist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who has done research in Afghanistan, said the videotape provides important clues on where bin Laden was when the tape was made.
He said he has received a number of calls about the video and any help it can provide in finding bin Laden, the chief suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Shroder said he could not say whether any of those calls have been from the federal government, saying he has been told not to discuss the inquiries in detail.
He did say he is certain that the type of sedimentary rock visible in the videotape is found only in Paktia and Paktika, two provinces in southeastern Afghanistan about 125 miles from Kabul. Shroder also has examined photographs taken from the tape.
Shroder, 62, said it would make sense that bin Laden would pick the area as a hideout. While the region doesn't have Afghanistan's tallest mountains, the terrain is rugged and dotted with caves.
The region is controlled by the Pushtuns, he said, an ethnic group that is armed and fiercely loyal to the Taliban.
A native of Vermont, Shroder joined the UNO faculty in 1969 and made his first trip to Afghanistan in 1973 for a UNO project to develop an atlas of the country.
UNO had founded its Center for Afghanistan Studies the year before, and the university knew that the country was drawing interest internationally, Shroder said.
He returned to Afghanistan in 1977 for a year and a half. That trip was funded by the National Science Foundation, and Shroder was on assignment to help create maps of the country for the U.S. State Department.
Shroder said that toward the end of the trip, the Afghan government, suspecting that he was spying for the United States, detained him. He was ordered to remain in the house he had been living at in Kabul.
The Afghan government posted a guard outside the house and officials frequently questioned Shroder about what he was doing in the country.
What they really wanted were the maps he had made, but Shroder never turned them over. They were safe at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
After three months, Afghan officials showed up at his house and ordered him to leave the country.
He returned to that part of the world in the 1980s and 1990s, conducting geological research in Pakistan.
It's been more than two decades since he has been to Afghanistan. But he said the recent attention on the country has brought back many memories.
"Afghanistan was my youth," he said. "Now it's all coming back."
-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001