Washington: Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has been appointed the al Qaeda chief following the killing of Osama bin Laden, is likely hiding in Pakistan and can be nabbed by ISI if it “really wants” to do so, a top US Senator has said.
“Well, we believe that he is likely in Pakistan somewhere. Do I believe that the government is harbouring him? No. Do I believe the government might know, or the ISI might know likely places where he would be? Yes. Do I believe that the ISI could find him if they really wanted to? Yes,” Senator Diannne Feinstein told the CNN.
Taking note of the alleged leak of intelligence provided by the US about two bomb-making factories in Pakistan from where the militants fled before the troops reached the sites, she said: “That’s a big problem, because it says we can’t trust you.”
“Let me say, I think we want to trust. We want to believe that we can work together with this nation. It is important that we do so. But, you know, we suffered a big blow at 9/11. No American forgets it. … And we would expect Pakistan to do the same thing if the situation was reversed,” she said reflecting the mood of lawmakers against Pakistan these days.
Feinstein, a Democrat, said it makes no sense for the Pakistanis to want to harbour terrorists because if they are real terrorists, they do not stop.
“They will one day come after Pakistan. I deeply believe that. I believe it for the Taliban. I believe it for the Haqqani. I believe it for al Qaeda. I think terror spreads.
Terror has root causes. I think we need to address those root causes. I also think that will have to take out the leadership. That’s what this is all about,” she said.
The Senator said Pakistan is facing a credibility problem among the US lawmakers after the killing of bin Laden.
“There’s deep concern here,” she said, noting that a key Congressional committee has approved a defence spending bill that would impose limits on US aid to Pakistan.
“I think what’s happened is over bin Laden, the mutual suspicion and the lack of cooperation has really crystallised.
I think the Pakistanis have to understand that this is the number one terrorist in the world, that had been living sheltered, so to speak, in their country for five years, had bought land, had built a home.
“It is a substantial home right in the middle of a major suburb that housed the military academy. And nobody in Pakistan questioned it,” Feinstein said.
“I think they have to understand that we would like very much to work with them jointly, to be able to go after people that are making IEDs that are being used against our troops in Afghanistan. But if they’re tipped off, that’s a big problem,” she said. Agencies