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Opinion: Where in the world is Osama bin Laden?

Do we even want to know? Is it possible that limbo is the easiest place for him to be?

No one I spoke to was able to say with any degree of certainty whether the man was even alive. Now the questions grow deeper and more speculative.

Why should Osama only be in the AfPak area? Might he be in another part of Pakistan? Say, Baluchistan, where reporters are barred from traveling? Might he have made it to Karachi? Got on board a small boat and gone across the water to the Arabian Peninsula where he is hiding among kinsman on the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border?

Is the failure to find him due to his remarkable skill at eluding capture? Or, is he allowed to stay on the loose because limbo is the place where all the governments concerned prefer him to remain?

For example, would America or Pakistan actually want to capture him and put him on trial? Consider the security risk — particularly to the latter — of putting Osama in a courtroom. As for the U.S., just look at the screaming and hollering that has gone on over holding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City and shutting Guantanamo and moving prisoners onto American soil. You would have to multiply that by a factor of at least a thousand to gauge what the public reaction would be to putting bin Laden on trial in an American court.

Do any of the countries pursuing the man want to kill him? Yes, of course. But do they want to own his execution and provide pictorial proof of death, thus giving an image to the world that would replace Che Guevara on a billion T-shirts, not to mention painting a target on themselves for the rest of the century?

These are very difficult questions to answer. So limbo may well be the place Osama must reside for the rest of his life and we may all spend years wondering where that elusive Desert Pimpernel ended up.