Monday, July 13, 2009

Osama in Kunar Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, July 12: Interior Minister Rehman Malik has described US drone attacks in tribal areas as futile and said that the Al Qaeda leadership is on the other side of the border in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sunday Times, he brushed aside CIA’s claims that drone attacks had been effective in disrupting Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks.

“They’re getting mid-level people, not big fish,” he said. “And they are counter-productive because they are killing civilians and turning locals against our government. We try to win people’s hearts, then one drone attack drives them away. One attack alone last week killed 50 people.”

Osama bin Laden could not have escaped the Pakistan army if he happened to be in the country, he said. Were Osama in Pakistan, we would know it, because thousands of troops had been sent into tribal areas in recent months, private TV channels quoted Mr Malik as saying.

“According to our information, Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar,” he said.

Mr Malik said Pakistan’s efforts to take on the Taliban on its side of the border were being hampered by the failure of American and British troops in Afghanistan to monitor their side. He said that Nato troops in Afghanistan should have first sealed the border before stepping up the fighting. “If we can’t seal it totally we should seal it as much as possible,” he said. “If we can’t have a wall, at least let’s put up barbed wire.”

“They should replicate what we’ve done,” he added. “We have 1,000 checkpoints on our side, they have only 100, of which only 60 are working. It makes no sense to both be fighting either side of the border without stopping the militants crossing.”

Source: Pakistan Dawn

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