CBSN

Pakistan's Tense Borders

Pakistani soldiers patrol the mountains near the Afghan border in Luqman Khel.
AP
The hunt for Osama bin Laden is now focusing on Afghanistan's remote, northern border with Pakistan. The Pakistani military gave CBS News a rare look at the area Tuesday.

The military says it is on high alert and promises no one will slip through, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Peteresen.

"We are completely in control," says one Pakistani general. "In the last few days we have made 200 arrests."

Their confidence is contradicted by terrain so rugged that donkeys move more easily than military vehicles.

And worse, this is an area where bin Laden would find many sympathetic to his anti-American cause, people who have not felt the sting and the disillusion of the Taliban's harsh rule.

It's a place already teeming with refugees from Afghanistan, where children learn their lessons in the open air and al-Qaida fighters can easily fade into the hills, one among so many.

And now the hunt for bin Laden on this border is jeopardized by what's happening on Pakistan's other border with India, where the two countries continue massing armies in the disputed Kashmir region. Guns, not diplomacy, are speaking here and if it gets worse – if there is war – Pakistan will shift more troops to Kashmir and away from Afghanistan.

"Therefore we are hoping that the tension does not rise to the level where we have to move those troops," said Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

The day and night border patrols by Pakistan's military are thin enough already. If Osama bin Laden is still hiding in Afghanistan, reducing the troops on the border will only make his escape that much easier.

© MMII, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved