'Bin Laden is trying to obtain medical attention'
Report: U.S. colonel says al-Qaida leader is in poor health
Updated: 6:37 a.m. ET Sept. 14, 2005
CAIRO - Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is in poor health and is seeking medical attention, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat said on Wednesday, quoting a U.S. officer in Afghanistan.
"Osama bin Laden is trying to obtain medical attention," Colonel Don McGraw, director of operations at the Combined Forces Command in Kabul, told a group of British reporters, including one from al-Hayat, it said.
"He (McGraw) refused to say what the al-Qaida leader is suffering from or whether it is the same kidney disease which Pakistani officials said in the past he was suffering from," the newspaper added.
Al-Hayat said it was not clear how the U.S. military had obtained its information or where it thought bin Laden might be.
The Saudi-born militant is believed to have taken refuge somewhere on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan after escaping from U.S. troops and their Afghan allies who toppled the Taliban government that had hosted him in 2001.
The United States holds al-Qaida responsible for many attacks, including the suicide hijack assaults on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.
U.S. military denies "bin Laden ill" report
Sep 14 10:47 AM US/Eastern
KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military in Afghanistan denied on Wednesday that one of its officers had told reporters Osama bin Laden was seeking medical attention.
The London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, citing U.S. Colonel Don McGraw in a briefing with reporters in Kabul, said on Wednesday that the al Qaeda leader was in poor health and was trying to obtain medical attention.
But a U.S. military spokeswoman in Kabul said McGraw had not said that.
"Colonel McGraw did not say Osama bin Laden was trying to get medical attention," said the spokeswoman, Lieutenant Cindy Moore.
"We're working with the editor to correct the record," she said of the al Hayat report.
McGraw had been asked by a reporter about an Arabic Web site report several weeks ago saying bin Laden had been wounded. McGraw said he had seen the report, which security experts said lacked credibility, but had no information, Moore said.
He was then asked about old reports that bin Laden had suffered from a kidney ailment and McGraw had said bin Laden might have, in the past, sought treatment but he didn't know about now, Moore said.
Moore said McGraw had presented the reporters with no new report about bin Laden.
The Saudi-born militant is believed to have taken refuge somewhere on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan after eluding U.S. troops and their Afghan allies who toppled the Taliban government that had hosted him in 2001.
The United States holds al Qaeda responsible for many attacks, including the suicide hijack assaults on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.