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Bin Laden dead, never to be found: report

While the United States continues to scour Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden, an unidentified Taliban leader said the world's most wanted man is dead and buried, a news report said on Tuesday.

"They (the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition) will never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Osama dead or alive," the Pakistan Observer quoted the leader as saying.

The Taliban officer claimed to have attended bin Laden's funeral.

Bin Laden died "a peaceful natural death" from serious lung complications in mid-December in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains, according to the unidentified Taliban member.

"Like other places in Tora Bora, his grave must also have vanished," he said, referring to the effects of heavy bombing.

Bin Laden was laid to rest with military honors with about 30 close al-Qaida associates and Taliban friends attending the funeral.

"Osama looked pale and feeble, but calm, relaxed and confident," said the Taliban member describing the last look at bin Laden before he was lowered into his grave.

The Taliban officer said bin Laden felt that he had succeeded in making Muslims aware of "the hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of pagans against Islam."

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