Pakistan sceptical over al Qaeda leader’s death

Published: August 29, 2011

Security officials expressed doubt that the US had killed Atiyah abd al Rahman near the Afghan border. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has refused to confirm claims by the US that al Qaeda’s second-in-command was killed last week in the tribal belt, bordering Afghanistan.

Washington announced on Saturday that Attiya abd al Rahman has been killed in North Waziristan Agency on August 22. However, it did not divulge the circumstances of his death.

Libyan national Rahman, who was in his late 30s, was a senior al Qaeda figure and among the list of most wanted men that the US handed over to Pakistan following Osama bin Laden’s death in May.

Pakistani security officials, on the other hand, were doubtful over the US claims, saying they had no compelling evidence to suggest that he was killed. “The US may have evidence but we are not sure about his death,” a senior military official told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. “It is always very difficult to verify such high-profile killings in an area where the situation is so fluid,” he said.

Intelligence sources have said they need ‘hard evidence’ to confirm whether Rahman was indeed in the country’s tribal belt. Analysts say the security establishment’s reluctance to confirm the US claims may stem from the fact that it will put Pakistan under further pressure to eliminate ‘terrorist safe havens’ from tribal areas.

A senior Pakistani security official in Peshawar told AFP: “We have checked this news report with informers and have worked on it. I doubt the authenticity of this news.”

Another security official in Miramshah said he had received no information on the killing. “For me it is just a rumour. Frankly speaking, we are not even aware that a man with this name is working as deputy chief of al Qaeda,” he added.

Officials said the mountainous area is inaccessible. “In such cases we rely on informers. We have not received any such report,” a security official in Mir Ali town, North Waziristan, told AFP.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Cityboy
    Aug 28, 2011 - 5:46PM

    They doubt Coz they know AQ man is safe and chilling at secure manson in Pakistan. .

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  • Babloo
    Aug 28, 2011 - 5:58PM

    And yes, neither did Osama live in Pakistan nor was he killed.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:53PM

    These the same Pakistani officials that believe that 911 was a hoax – that say they don’t support terrorism but allow terrorist to control large sections of Pakistan – that denied that OBL was residing inside Pakistan? If so — I would prefer to rely on the American statement.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:38PM

    Who knows more about the safety and security of Al Quaida than Pakistani officials. Nobody can claim to be closer than them to these terrorists. When Pakistani officials know so much about these terrorists, why do they not take any action against them? Recommend

  • My Name is Khan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 11:11PM

    We have lost faith in these so-called “officials”. We are lied to in our textbooks, in our Urdu media, by our politicians, and by our “leaders” like Imran Khan.

    Go drones go!

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