Islamabad: On the outskirts of the
Pakistani capital lives a militant considered so powerful that
Osama bin Laden consulted with him before issuing a fatwa to
attack American interests.
Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil heads Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, a
terrorist group closely aligned with al Qaeda and a signatory
to bin Laden`s anti-US fatwa in 1998.
Khalil has also dispatched fighters to India,
Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya and Bosnia, was a confidante of
bin Laden and hung out with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh
Pakistani authorities are clearly aware of Khalil`s
whereabouts. But they leave him alone, just as they tolerate
other Kashmiri militant groups nurtured by the military and
its intelligence agency to use against India.
Khalil is also useful to the authorities because of
his unusually wide contacts among Pakistan`s many militant
groups, said a senior government official who is familiar with
the security agencies and who spoke on condition he not be
identified fearing repercussions.
Khalil`s presence in an Islamabad suburb, confirmed to
The Associated Press by Western officials in the region,
underscores accusations that Pakistan is still playing a
double game fighting some militant groups while tolerating or
supporting others even after the solo US raid that killed bin
Laden on May 2.
The US Congress, enraged that bin Laden found refuge
for at least five years down the street from Pakistan`s
equivalent of West Point, has threatened to cut off the
billions of dollars in aid being spent here.