Al Qaeda chief Zawahiri in Pakistan, says Clinton
NEW DELHI AL QAEDA chief Ayman al Zawahiri is in Pakistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a visit to neighbouring India on Monday.
The Egyptian cleric heads the terrorist group since US forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“Al Zawahiri, who inherited the leadership from bin Laden, is somewhere, we believe, in Pakistan. So we are intent upon going after those who are trying to keep Al Qaeda operational and inspirational,” she said in reply to a question about the US’s “next big target.” “We want to disable Al Qaeda and we’ve made a lot of progress in doing that.
There are several significant leaders still on the run,” Clinton said at Kolkata’s La Martiniere girls’ school.
Clinton refused to comment on whether a “bin Laden-type operation” would be conducted by US forces, saying Washington would like to have a counter-terrorism partnership with Pakistan.
Clinton also said Pakistan had not taken action against militant leader Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed more than 160 lives. She said that the US has announced a $10 million bounty on the man who masterminded the Mumbai attack.
New Delhi has repeatedly asked Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice, an issue that has prevented ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours from improving.
“We’re well aware that there have not yet been the steps taken by the Pakistani government to do what both India and the US have repeatedly requested them they do,” she said.
“And we’re going to keep pushing that point. So it is a way of raising the visibility and pointing out to those who are associated with him that there is a cost for that.”