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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Taliban Celebrates Bin Laden's 50th

SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan -- Osama bin Laden, if he's alive, celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday, and his friends in the Taliban prayed for his long life.

The al-Qaida leader's long silence has fuelled speculation that the world's most-wanted fugitive may have died, though many in the international intelligence community believe that Islamist web sites would report his death.

"He is alive. I am 100 percent sure," Taliban spokesman Mullah Hayatullah Khan said, adding that senior leaders were in touch with bin Laden, reinforcing a widely held view that he is hiding near the rugged Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Khan said special prayers were offered by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to mark bin Laden's birth March 10, 1957, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"We prayed that Allah may give him 200 years to live," Khan said by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location. "When we woke up today, we offered collective and long prayers for him because he is a great mujahed."