According to a leading US news magazine, Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri is hiding in Karachi under the protection of Pakistan’s ISI. The report also says that Osama bin-Laden’s son too may be in Pakistan under ISI’s protection.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of Al-Qaeda and the man who mentored Osama bin Laden, is hiding in Pakistan, under the protection of the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, American magazine Newsweek reportedthis week.
Quoting several “authoritative sources” the weekly news magazine said that al-Zawahiri has been in Pakistan ever since the United States attacked Afghanistan in 2001, in response to the horrific 9/11 attacks.
Aywan al-Zawahiri took over as the head of the Al-Queda after Osama bin Laden was killed in a US Navy SEALs operation. bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad, a military garrison town where he fled to from Afghanistan.
According to Newsweek’s sources, al-Zawahiri has been hiding in Karachi, a port town. “Like everything about his location, there’s no positive proof,” a CIA veteran of 30 years, Bruce Riedel, told the news weekly.
“There are pretty good indications, including some of the material found in Abbottabad that point in that direction…This would be a logical place to hide out, where he would feel pretty comfortable that the Americans can’t come and get him,” he is quoted as saying.
‘KARACHI VERY HARD TO TARGET’
Riedel goes on to tell the magazine that the United States, which Newsweek says is looking to eliminate al-Zawahiri, would “very hard” to launch a commando like the one that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad.
“If he was in someplace along the border with Afghanistan, I think the temptation would be enormous to go after him… But in Karachi, that would be stunning and very difficult,” Ridel adds.
al-Zawahiri reportedly arrived in Karachi after an unsuccessful attempt by previous Barack Obama-led US regime to eliminate him in 2016.
Back then he reportedly in Pakistan’s Shawal Valley, where he survived a drone strike that killed four of his bodyguards, an anonymous militant leader from the region told Newsweek.
He was then “moved to Karachi under direction of ‘the black leg,'” the militant leader said, using the Afghan Taliban’s code word of Pakistan’s ISI.
An unnamed former Pakistani official with close links to Islamabad confirmed to Newsweek that al-Zawahiri was in “in a large Pakistani city” and that Karachi “makes sense” as a sanctuary.
The anonymous official also said that he was “100 per cent” sure that bin Laden’s 26-year-old son, Hamza, seen as a rising power in Al-Qaeda, is also in Pakistan under ISI protection.
Responding to the Newsweek report, a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC, called the allegations “part of a vicious media campaign” and said that “the achievements of Pakistan against Al-Qaeda are unparalleled and proven.”
Source: ABC News