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Gates: No U.S. intel on Osama for ‘years’

Gates: No U.S. intel on Osama for ‘years’

MSNBC
December 6, 2009

The United States does not know where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is hiding and has not had any good intelligence on his whereabouts in “years,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday.

Speaking in an interview to be aired on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program, Gates also said he could not confirm reports this week that a detainee might have seen bin Laden in Afghanistan earlier this year.

“We don’t know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is. If we did, we’d go and get him,” Gates said in excerpts released by ABC.

‘I think it’s been years’
Asked when was the last time the United States had any good intelligence on his whereabouts, Gates said, “I think it’s been years.”

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported earlier this week that a detainee in Pakistan claimed to have information that bin Laden was in Ghazni in eastern Afghanistan in January or February.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report late last month that blamed the lack of concerted efforts by former President George W. Bush’s administration and U.S. military commanders for allowing bin Laden to escape from the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan in late 2001.

 

Bin Laden not in Pakistan, says prime minister

Guardian UK
December 3, 2009

The Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, today claimed that Osama bin Laden was not in Pakistan – just days after Gordon Brown criticised the Islamabad government for not doing enough to capture the al-Qaida leader.

Bin Laden is widely believed to be sheltering in the north of Pakistan – a belief reiterated by the CIA director, Leon Panetta, over the summer – and on Sunday Brown criticised the Islamabad government for not doing more to track him down.

But quizzed by British journalists at a joint press conference with the UK prime minister in London as to why the al-Qaida leader remained at large, Gilani said the Pakistani administration had not been provided with any “credible or actionable intelligence” as to his whereabouts.

“I don’t think Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan,” he said.

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President of Pakistan: Osama Bin Laden is dead

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZlx_YhL0T0

 

Benazir Bhutto: Bin Laden was Murdered

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnychOXj9Tg

 



U.S. missile strike kills 6 in Pakistan

U.S. missile strike kills 6 in Pakistan

Reuters
July 28, 2008

A suspected U.S. missile strike on a Pakistani madrasa killed six people, including foreigners, on Monday in tribal lands regarded as an al Qaeda and Taliban hotbed, intelligence officials said.

The target of the pre-dawn attack was a house close to a madrasa used by militants near Azam Warsak village, about 20 km (12 miles) west of Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan.

The attack, one of many in recent months, was launched hours before Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was due to meet President George W. Bush in Washington for talks that will focus on the conduct of the war against terrorism.

The United States, alarmed by rising casualties among Western forces in Afghanistan, wants Pakistan to do more to contain the al Qaeda and Taliban threat in its territory.

A Pakistani military spokesman confirmed an incident had occurred in Waziristan, but said he was unaware of details, though intelligence officials in Wana gave a clearer picture.

One official told Reuters the madrasa, or religious school, was a militant base and the owner of the targeted house, a tribesman named Malik Sallat Khan, had ties with the militants.

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Pakistan has right to retaliate if NATO attacked: President

Pakistan Link
July 28, 2008

President Pervez Musharraf Saturday said he is concerned over the Nato forces attack in Pakistani tribal areas and warned a U-S think-tank that no such attacks will be tolerated in future, and Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate.

Talking to a senior advisor of the US think-tank Dr Hormon Olmen in Rawalpindi, President Musharaf asserted that the Afghan-based Nato forces are not being attacked from the Pakistani soil nor is any cross-border activity taking place from here.

According to sources, the President reiterated that a stable Afghanistan in the interest of Pakistan and said baseless allegations against Pakistan could affect the war on terror.

Dr. Olmen told the President that the Pak-Afghan border security is a joint responsibility of both the countries and a cooperation between them is the need of the hour.

 



Pakistan To US: No Longer Your Killing Field

Pakistan To US: We Are No Longer Your Killing Field

Guardian
March 27, 2008


The Bush administration is scrambling to engage with Pakistan’s new rulers as power flows from its strong ally, President Pervez Musharraf, to a powerful civilian government buoyed by anti-American sentiment.

Top diplomats John Negroponte and Richard Boucher travelled to a mountain fortress near the Afghan border yesterday as part of a hastily announced visit that has received a tepid reception.

On Tuesday, senior coalition partner Nawaz Sharif gave the visiting Americans a public scolding for using Pakistan as a “killing field” and relying too much on Musharraf.

Yesterday the new prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said he warned President George Bush in a phone conversation that he would prioritise talking as well as shooting in the battle against Islamist extremism. “He said that a comprehensive approach is required in this regard, specially combining a political approach with development,” a statement said.

But Gilani also reassured Bush that Pakistan would “continue to fight against terrorism”, it said.

Since 2001 American officials have treasured their close relationship with Musharraf because he offered a “one-stop shop” for cooperation in hunting al-Qaida fugitives hiding in Pakistan.

But since the crushing electoral defeat of Musharraf’s party last month, and talk that the new parliament may hobble the president’s powers, that equation has changed. Now the US finds itself dealing with politicians it previously spurned.

The body language between Negroponte and Sharif during their meeting on Tuesday spoke volumes: the Pakistani greeted the American with a starched handshake, and sat at a distance .

In blunt remarks afterwards, Sharif said he told Negroponte that Pakistan was no longer a one-man show. “Since 9/11, all decisions were taken by one man,” he said. “Now we have a sovereign parliament and everything will be debated in the parliament.”

It was “unacceptable that while giving peace to the world we make our own country a killing field,” Sharif said, echoing widespread public anger at US-funded military operations in the tribal belt.

“If America wants to see itself clean of terrorism, we also want our villages and towns not to be bombed,” he said.

US officials have long paid tribute to the virtues of democracy in Pakistan. But, as happened in the Palestinian Authority after the 2006 Hamas victory, policymakers are racing to catch up with the consequences of a result that challenges American priorities.

The US has long been suspicious of Sharif, whom it views as sympathetic to religious parties. Unlike Benazir Bhutto, whose return from exile was negotiated through the US, Sharif came under the protection of Saudi Arabia. But now Sharif’s party, which performed well in the poll, is an integral part of the new government.

Yesterday Negroponte and Boucher travelled to the Khyber Pass in North-West Frontier Province, the centre of a growing insurgency. They met with the commander of the Frontier Corps, a poorly equipped paramilitary force that the US has offered to upgrade. The US has earmarked $750m (£324m) for a five-year development programme in tribal areas. At least 22 military instructors are due to start training the corps this year.

The timing of the American visit – before the new cabinet is announced – has offended Pakistanis. “It flies in the face of normal protocol at a time when public opinion is rife that they are making a last ditch effort to save Musharraf,” said Talat Hussain, a prominent journalist.

It is unclear how Pakistan’s foreign policy will be formulated in future. Musharraf’s power may have been cut but the strong army is lurking in the shadows, and the coalition is wrangling over cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister.

Gilani must manage other tensions, particularly over whether to reinstate Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the deposed chief justice who was freed from house arrest on Monday. Chaudhry has become a folk hero but is viewed with suspicion by Gilani’s Pakistan People’s party.

 

U.S. steps up missile strikes in Pakistan: report

Reuters
March 27, 2008

The United States has escalated air strikes against al-Qaeda fighters operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas fearing that support from Islamabad may slip away, The Washington Post reported on Thursday

U.S. officials, who were not identified, said Washington wants to inflict as much damage as it can to al Qaeda’s network now because Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may not be able to offer much help in the months ahead.

Musharraf, a vital U.S. ally in the campaign against terrorism who has generally supported such strikes, has seen his power wane dramatically over the past year.

Over the past two months, U.S.-controlled Predator aircraft have struck at least three sites used by al-Qaeda operatives, the Post reported.

About 45 Arab, Afghan and other foreign fighters have been killed in the attacks, all near the Afghan border, U.S. and Pakistani officials were cited as saying.

Neither U.S. nor Pakistani authorities officially confirm U.S. missile attacks on Pakistani territory, which would be an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.

Many al Qaeda members, including Uzbeks and Arabs, and Taliban militants took refuge in North and South Waziristan, as well as in other areas on the Pakistani side of the border after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.

According to the Post, the goal was partly to try to get information on senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, by forcing them to move in ways that U.S. intelligence analysts can detect.

Citing an administration official, the report said the campaign was not specifically designed to capture bin Laden before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office in January.

“It’s not a blitz to close this chapter,” a senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the newspaper. “If we find the leadership, then we’ll go after it. But nothing can be done to put al-Qaeda away in the next nine or 10 months. In the long haul, it’s an issue that extends beyond this administration.”