Top Al Qaeda leader hurt, hiding in Wana: ISPR

March 28, 2004


RAWALPINDI, March 27: A spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has said that intelligence sources have confirmed that one of the top Al Qaeda leader, Tahir Yoldeshev, has been injured in the military operation in the tribal area , and is hiding somewhere in Wana.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, the spokesman said: "Some facilitators of Tahir Yoldeshev have also been injured during the ongoing operation during which over 160 miscreants had been arrested."

He said intelligence sources and other information gathered from those apprehended during the operation indicated that over 60 "miscreants" had been killed and several injured during the operation since March 16.

Dilating upon the situation in Wana area, the spokesman said the operation was in its final stages and its objectives had been largely achieved. "A hardened den of miscreants has been completely dismantled, those locals giving refuge to foreign elements have been uncovered and earlier reports of the presence of foreign elements in that particular area are confirmed."

He said arms and equipment recovered from the area indicated the involvement of these elements in terrorist activities in the country. "A variety of explosives, time bomb devices, communication equipment and a wide range of weaponry retrieved from the stronghold, the type of fighting, trenches and tunnel in the area are indications of their involvement in terrorist activities."

The ISPR spokesman condemned the "brutal killing" of eight Pakistan Army soldiers by the miscreants in South Waziristan Agency. He said: "The security forces exercise restrain in the use of fire power and indiscriminate killing is always avoided."

Those arrested were being treated with dignity, he added.

The spokesman said locals from Zamchana village, about 40 kilometres northwest of Wana, came out to confront the miscreants who were preparing to fire mortars on one of the posts of the security forces on Friday night.

In retaliation, he added, the miscreants brought fire onto the village, and as a result one civilian, son of Malik Hakim Khan Gangi Khel, met martyrdom. "The authorities highly appreciate this patriotic act of Gangi Khel tribe and pay rich tributes to the Shaheed," he said.