Raiding for Mullah Omar: US keeping all options open, says Kerry

Published: May 15, 2011
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US senator says Islamabad needs to improve efforts in fighting extremism. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

US senator says Islamabad needs to improve efforts in fighting extremism. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: 

The United States will consider all its options, including a raid inside Pakistan, if it knows the whereabouts of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, US Senator John Kerry said on Saturday.

The statement came a day after a joint sitting of Pakistani parliament condemned the May 2 US raid to find and kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, calling for a review of US ties and warning that the government could cut supply lines to US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan if there were more such attacks.

“The US government will always reserve all of its options to be able to protect our people. Other plots have been conducted and organised and planned out of Pakistan. It is really critical that we talk with the Pakistanis as friends,” said Kerry who is visiting Afghanistan ahead of a trip to Pakistan.

US officials have long maintained Omar fled to Pakistan after the Taliban government was overthrown in late 2001 by US-backed Afghan forces and is still in hiding there. But Islamabad has denied reports he is in Pakistan.

Kerry said Pakistan itself was a victim of extremism and faced its own tough decisions but that the killing of Bin Laden provided a new opportunity. “Sometimes those choices can be very difficult for people to make because of the pressures that they’re under and the violence that occurs,” he said.

Kerry said Islamabad needed to improve efforts in fighting extremism, but the death of Bin Laden provided a critical chance to move forward. “We obviously want a Pakistan that is prepared to respect the interests of Afghanistan, and to be a real ally in our efforts to combat terrorism,” said Kerry. “We believe there are things that can be done better.”

Security officials nervous

For years, US officials have said the one-eyed Omar is based is in Quetta, not far from the Afghan border, where he heads a Taliban leadership council, or shura.

Pakistan rejects assertions that Omar is in Pakistan, or even that the so-called Quetta shura exists. Whether or not the shadowy Taliban supremo is in Quetta, security officials are nervous.

“It’s a very tricky situation,” said a senior intelligence official who declined to be identified. “If you ask us if Mullah Omar is in Quetta, the answer is ‘no’, we have no such information.”

Nevertheless, he said his men had stepped up efforts to track Omar although the had no new leads.     “We’ll definitely get him if we know where he is. It’s very important for us to get him before the United States does. We don’t want another Abbottabad-like situation,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Mirza
    May 15, 2011 - 10:09AM

    Go for it, now you know where to find him. Here is a proof of what BB knew about the army and OBL, and the reason why she was killed? This writer is an ex-congressman of the US and very influential.

    Mirza, USA

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-benazir-bhutto-knew-about-pakistan-and-bin-laden/2011/05/11/AFvkDz2G_story.htmlRecommend

  • Ali
    May 15, 2011 - 10:25AM

    Here we go again!! So we are being conned by our leaders for the last 10 days. Why am I surprised?Recommend

  • hey
    May 15, 2011 - 10:28AM

    same news again n again. Donot you have any new story. You are playing with same story by dividing it in to segments.Recommend

  • Jehangir
    May 15, 2011 - 10:45AM

    why dont their search for Mullah Omar in top level ISI’s or Kiyani’s basement. If he is not found there he must be inside some canttonment.Recommend

  • Qamar Javed
    May 15, 2011 - 10:53AM

    hi
    still pakistan is a week country and we already facing a big challanges in the shape of terrorisim.there is no body safe in pakistan even police,FIA ,ISI ,Ranger.so how we can fight with america.so my friends plz we need to be a unity first of all should be peace in pakistan then we can see what is next.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    May 15, 2011 - 11:01AM

    Dear Senator Kerry,
    If we fail to hand to hand members of Quetta Shura along with the principal suspect by the specified time! How long would it take the US Congress to declare Pakistan as member of the Evil Axis? Is it not a fact the so called rogue elements in ISI are CIA moles operating to
    your benefit. That US administration knew since 2003 where OBL was hidden to serve your vested interested. The idea to kill him had little to do with ending terrorism or disupting the
    various groups associated with Al Qaida. This was a gamble of waging the ultimate Psy War
    against Mullah Umar and the Afghan Taliban were they reported in a state of shock ready to
    surrender to General Custer at Wounded Knee? Afghanistan is a strategic fulcrum from where you can easily impose your geo-political whims on five nations surrounding Kabul*. The Sixth is the Muslim majority province of China which is strategic fulcrum for China from
    where her regional trade with Central Asian Republics and trade route through Pakistan to
    Middle East and East Africa can be distrupted! In your Dictionary the word ‘ expend ‘ has such a profound meaning that Human life has no value if it becomes an obstacle to your vested interest, against the interest of zionism.Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    May 15, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Once again US officials are trying to create a new drama to enter Pakistan and to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity and as usual Pakistani corrupt,beggars and slaves leaders shall see all this as a silent spectator.Recommend

  • Khuda Buksh
    May 15, 2011 - 12:36PM

    If you can attack every Muslim country on your false pretexts,Iraq,Libya,Afghanistan,Sudan,Pakistan why not you be attacked?How can you stop few hundred or few dozens to act madly?If daily suicide bombers kill hundreds of their fellow brethren in Pakistan,should we blame you for it for sponsoring them and yoy still threaten our sovereignty,while you have traitors and toadies in the regions to rule them and execute your agenda.Mills of nature grind slow but finest and soonest.You have no case but only bloodiest hands,minds to bully the world while you sink.Recommend

  • May 15, 2011 - 12:36PM

    I request the Parliament & the Govt to clearly tell the Armed Forces that how they should react in case US take another unilateral action.

    Not specifically ordering Armed Forces in clear words and in case worst happening, blaming Armed Forces once again is EXPECTED out of present Political Elites.Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    May 15, 2011 - 12:53PM

    Get the sob and all the rest of the pack and clean our Pakistan ——– if we can’t do the job then someone please do it.Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    May 15, 2011 - 2:14PM

    You’re too late John Kerry.

    Now, there’s no way, you can catch Zawahiri or Omar, not in the years to come. If they were at all, hidden within Pakistan, they have been shifter to safer places by whoever were hiding them.

    Now, everyone is alert. Besides, any such misadventure, will probably have Pakistani army retaliate (I maybe wrong on this one, however).Recommend

  • saleem khan
    May 15, 2011 - 2:51PM

    Go for him, hunt him down. The people of Pakistan are on your side. Get them all one by one, Mulla Umar, Hakemullah mehsud, all these Laskars operating from southern Pujab safe heaven. Get all of them, as our army do not want to get rid of them. We are with you Senator Kerry.Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 15, 2011 - 3:02PM

    If Mullah Omar is not a citizen of Pakistan then it is better to hand him over to those who want him to face justice. In a similar way if we have other nationals holed up in our country and are also on wanted list then hand them over to their respective countries and let them face all types of classical music from those countries where they are most needed to face justice. We have enough problems of our own with different types of lashkers.Recommend

  • ann
    May 15, 2011 - 3:13PM

    @Ahmer Ali:
    who cares – he killed over 3,000 of our people and walked this earth free and clear killing more people including muslims and God know how many more – Good riddanceRecommend

  • ann
    May 15, 2011 - 3:16PM

    @Khuda Buksh:
    i assume you have NO feelings for ALL the innocent people including muslims that osama killed and IF pakistan coudlnt do the job to find him USA did and hoooray for themRecommend

  • kashif
    May 15, 2011 - 4:14PM

    US.. You’re more than welcome. But remember 1 thing you won’t go bak clean this time.Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    May 15, 2011 - 4:56PM

    this is absurd, Pakistan needs to take a stand and stop U.S.Recommend

  • Javed
    May 15, 2011 - 5:30PM

    @kashif: If wishes were horses beggers would ride….. how trueRecommend

  • Meerza R Khan
    May 15, 2011 - 6:15PM

    Aah another ten years of bloodshed & pain in making for Pushtoons.
    Some times i think Americans bribe the God. Astaghfar Ullah.
    i think if they come again, this time the awakened people will be in wait to party,
    see if we can digest another Vietnam.Recommend

  • Mawali
    May 15, 2011 - 11:34PM

    An emphatic NO to threats, of any kind! Certainly NO to your blood money you call aid. BTW, Kerry is the same guy who helped bring down BCCI. Pakistan wake up throw out the bums who are lining their pockets with US money and then the US has the unmitigated gall to call it AID to Pakistan!Recommend

  • Senator Kerry
    May 16, 2011 - 2:44AM

    @kashif,
    Only if we come without stealth choppers again!Recommend

  • Arindom
    May 16, 2011 - 6:38AM

    Great going, Kerry!

    When you are at it, can you also get Dawood please ? The Indians would surely reward you!Recommend

  • VGM
    May 16, 2011 - 7:49AM

    I wonder what excuse ISI & the Pak Army are going to give after the next US Special ops action for killing the good one eye – Mullah!!! Find him they will … that’s the US resolve…& they said it after the Osama operation…Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    May 16, 2011 - 8:37AM

    Welcome USA, please clean up and don’t forget to bury top terrorists in an Islamic way in the middle of Indian Ocean.Recommend

  • Santosh
    May 17, 2011 - 10:06AM

    In 1999 during the Kargil war, the United States tacitly acknowledged the support that the Pakistani establishment provides the Kashmiri militants. In 2001, attacks began after 9/11. In 2007 we have this video of Pakistani analysts debating whether USA is preparing to invade Pakistan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTHiTsx3-aA&feature=related. Around that time however all that began was covert ops(perhaps) and drone attacks for sure. No overt boots on the ground operations were committed. However after 05/11/2011, we have reached a new milestone where a precedent has been established for unilateral ground based operations. The arguments and denunciations of the drone attacks by Pakistanis were just as loud in 2007. We all can see them in videos on Youtube since. I dont think it made much difference and the established precedent was used for other repeat operations. I guess the world must wait and watchRecommend

  • Santosh
    May 17, 2011 - 10:11AM

    @Khuda Buksh:
    Please quote an instance where the US unilaterally bombed a Muslim nation(please note Muslim nation, Vietnam does not count) before the terrorist attacks began? 9 11 happened before the drone attacks. The drone attacks were followed by suicide attacks, which were followed by suicide attacks, So in terms of order of occurrence and therefore some semblance of causality, the terrorism happened first.Recommend

  • sam
    May 19, 2011 - 5:49PM

    has anyone ever considered that this might be an excuse to enter Pakistan, invade it, and take our natural resources. let’s not forgot, Pakistan has billions of tons of oil, gas, coal, and all the natural resources which the world needsRecommend

  • mussarat
    May 24, 2011 - 5:47AM

    @Ahmer Ali:

    Please suggest do we have any other option.

    Mercenaries are attacking naval and air base of my loving Pakistan only in the name of Islam they want to preach and promote in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan where we all are staunch believers and followers of the Last Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

    Terrorists want to eliminate Pakistan (God Forbid), but trust in God they will and not Pakistan, Inshallah. We love Pakistan from our heart and soul. We can’t be mere spectator of what’s going on in our country. Our beloved soliders and policemen are rendering unprecedented sacrifices to safeguard national integrity and solidarity.

    They again want to play horrifying game of 1971 when East Pakistan was dismembered from rest of the country. NO No, as long as single Pakistani is alive we won’t allow terrorism or terrorists
    to flourish amidst us come what cost we have to pay.

    We should welcome everybody whoever wants to help us to get rid of terrorism.

    For God sake never criticise valiant armed forces of Pakistan, they are the world’s best raised troops who have rendered unique sacrifices in the war on terror. Just think when you criticise your own forces it simply provide opportunities to other to emulate.

    First Pakistan then Politics.,

    God Bless Pakistan, Amen.

    MussaratRecommend

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