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Two Pakistani nuclear scientists who have been detained for alleged links with Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban regime have admitted meeting the leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network Osama bin Laden at least twice this year.

Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmoud and Chaudhry Abdul Majid — both retired officials of the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission, and both believed to have sympathies with the Taliban regime — were detained by Pakistani police at the end of October.

Neither scientist has been charged, and Pakistani authorities say that there are no indications that the men handed over nuclear information or materials to anyone in Afghanistan.

But according to the UK newspaper The Guardian, a Pakistani official revealed yesterday that the two men have admitted meeting Bin Laden — the prime suspect behind the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York and Washington — during visits to the Afghani city of Kandahar.

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