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
"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.
First Published: Friday, June 17, 2011, 23:41