updated 6/15/2005 10:23:12 AM ET 2005-06-15T14:23:12

Osama bin Laden is alive and in good health, as is fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, a purported senior commander of the ousted militia said Wednesday in a television interview.

Pakistan’s Geo television broadcast the interview with a man it identified as Taliban military commander Mullah Akhtar Usmani, a former aviation minister who said he still receives instructions from Omar.

Asked whether bin Laden is hiding in areas of Afghanistan that are under Taliban control, the man said he would not specify where the terrorist mastermind was hiding.

“Thanks be to God, he is absolutely fine,” he said.

The man wore a black turban to shield his face, making it impossible to recognize him or verify his identity. He wore a gray jacket, and an AK-47 rifle was propped up next to him as he spoke in front of a red-patterned, Afghan-style rug.

Geo said the interview was recorded last week, but declined to say where.

A senior journalist at the independent station said on condition of anonymity that the interview was done near the Afghan town of Spinboldak, which is close to the Pakistani border.

The interview was conducted in broken Urdu, Pakistan’s main language and the language in which Geo broadcasts most of its programs. Most senior Taliban speak Pashtu.

The man said the Taliban are still organized, and that senior Taliban leaders hold regular consultations.

“Our discipline is strong. We have regular meetings. We make programs,” the man said.

He said Omar does not attend the meetings but “decisions come from his side.” He did not say where those meeting take place.

A U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban from power in late 2001 for harboring al-Qaida, which was blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

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