Al Qaeda Leadership Hiding in Pakistan, Says Hillary

By | Subscribe to IBTimes's | May 8, 2012 9:42 AM IST

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said that the top leadership of Al Qaeda is hiding somewhere in Pakistan.

She also admitted that India's difficult neighbour has not taken necessary action against suspected 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

Speaking at an interaction with students in the east Indian city of Kolkata, where she arrived on Sunday as part of her India visit, the American official said Pakistan has ignored repeated calls from the U.S. and India.

India has time and again called on Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice ever since Pakistani militants attacked India's financial capital Mumbai killing 166 people, including six Americans.

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However, Pakistan maintains that there is not enough evidence against Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group that had executed the November 2008 attack.

Washington has announced a reward of $10 million for information leading to Saeed's conviction, Clinton reiterated on Monday.

"We're well aware that there has not yet been the steps taken by the Pakistani government to do what both India and the United States have repeatedly requested them they do," Clinton said Monday.

"And we're going to keep pushing that point. So it's a way of raising the visibility and pointing out to those who are associated with him that there is a cost for that," she said.

The Secretary of State also added that U.S. government believed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is in hiding somewhere in Pakistan.

"We want to disable Al Qaeda and we made a lot of progress in doing that," Clinton said.

"There are several significant leaders still on the run; 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," said Hillary. 

However, Clinton refused to comment when asked if the U.S. would consider another covert strike similar to one in which al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed.

 Clinton said India and USA with their greater religious tolerance and interfaith understanding are greatest rebukes to religious extremists and terrorists. 

"India and US are the greatest rebukes to religious extremism. Because you have people of every religion like we do and that drives the extremist crazy. They hate tolerance," said Hillary. 

Hillary said India has every right to protect its people and go after its enemies. 

"I think you have to do three things - you have to have the very best possible intelligence; law enforcement; judicial defence response - so that you can protect your people. 

"First obligation of any government is to protect your people and you got to do that," she said. 

"Secondly, you have to go after those who are trying to kill you. You have to be focused on that. I recently authorised 10 million dollar award for one of the people we believe was the mastermind of the attack in Mumbai," she said, speaking of Hafiz Saeed.

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