Barack Obama admits Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan
Press Trust of India
World’s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, is hiding in Pakistan, the United States on Friday admitted for the first time, implying that he was still alive. President Barack Obama, while unveiling his administration’s new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are hiding in Pakistan’s “unruly” tribal areas. He said Al-Qaida is planning attacks against the US from its “safe havens” in the tribal areas, which his government is determined not to let it happen. Declaring an all out war against Al-Qaida and its other affiliate terrorist organisations, Obama said the outfits leaders have now moved from Afghanistan to the safe havens in Pakistan. “Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaida is actively planning attacks on the US homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan,” he said. “I the Afghan government falls to the Taliban or allows Al-Qaida to go unchallenged that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can,” he said. Observing that the future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbour, Pakistan, President Obama said, “In the nearly eight years since 9/11, Al-Qaida and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier.” “This almost certainly includes Al-Qaida’s leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri,” he said. The terrorists have used the mountainous terrain as a safe haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. “For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world,” he said. However, Obama said this is not simply an American problem. This is a global problem, he asserted. “It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to Al-Qaida and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and Kabul. “If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it too is likely to have ties to Al-Qaida’s leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around the world is at stake,” Obama said. “For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralysed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people especially women and girls. “The return in force of Al-Qaida terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence,” Obama said. Insisting that as President, his greatest responsibility is to protect the American people, Obama said the US is not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. “We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists,” Obama said.