Osama not in Pakistan, say Taliban

Published December 18, 2007

TANK, Dec 17: Local Taliban militants on Monday denied that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden might be hiding inside or near the tribal areas of the country.

A spokesman for the recently-formed United Taliban Movement of Pakistan (UTMP) in a statement accused President Pervez Musharraf of making false claims to please the ‘Americans’ in order to make money.

President Musharraf had claimed in an interview to The Washington Post that Bin Laden might be hiding in the area that borders Bajaur tribal agency and Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

“No one except Osama knows where he is. Musharraf is making such statements to make more money,” the spokesman, Maulavi Omar, said.

He alleged that such statements were tantamount to inviting US forces to invade the country.

He added that the tribal militants would welcome and protect the Al Qaeda leader if he ever came to their area.

He denied that the Afghan Taliban had formed the UTMP, but acknowledged that they shared the same ideals and goals.

“Of course, our mission is the same and we believe that Mullah Omar is our caliph but, at the same time, we have our own separate struggle which is limited to Pakistan.”

He reiterated his threat to the government that if military operations in tribal areas and Swat were not halted within 10 days, militants would launch attacks on security forces throughout the country.“We have given a 10-day deadline to the government of Pakistan to withdraw troops from tribal areas and Swat.”

He demanded release of all Taliban prisoners, including the Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

“If the demands are not met there were will be large-scale attacks on security forces throughout the country,” he warned.

Opinion

The sixth wave

The sixth wave

PCR testing has drastically gone down in Pakistan and our disease surveillance system needs much more strengthening.

Editorial

Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

Negotiating with extremists is tricky; no peace treaty with them has lasted beyond a few months.
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
More ‘prior actions’
Updated 30 Jun, 2022

More ‘prior actions’

It is crucial that the IMF reconsiders its stance and releases the funds at the earliest to calm uneasy markets.
Growing power crisis
30 Jun, 2022

Growing power crisis

THE country’s escalating power crisis risks exacerbating the law-and-order situation as people take to the streets...
Attack on polio team
30 Jun, 2022

Attack on polio team

THE threat of deadly violence never seems to diminish for health workers and police officials involved in...