CIA: Osama hiding in Pak tribal areas


Prime VIP
Washington, June 27

World’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas, CIA chief said today, even as he claimed that the al-Qaida is probably at its weakest point since 9/11 with only 60-100 militants left in Afghanistan.

“I think the estimate on the number of al-Qaida (in Afghanistan) is actually relatively small. I think at most, we’re looking at maybe 60 to 100, maybe less.It’s in that vicinity. There’s no question that the main location of al-Qaida is in tribal areas of Pakistan,” CIA director Leon Panetta, told a news channel in an interview.

Panetta said the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is in deep hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but did not give any further details.

“He is, as is obvious, in very deep hiding. He’s in the tribal areas in Pakistan that is very difficult. The terrain is probably the most difficult in the world,” he said.

“That’s all we know, that he’s located in that vicinity. The terrain is very difficult. He obviously has tremendous security around him,” Panetta said.

“I think what’s happened is that the more we put pressure on the al-Qaida leadership in the tribal areas in Pakistan and I would say that as a result of our operations, that the Taliban (al-Qaida) leadership is probably at its weakest point since 9/11 and their escape from Afghanistan into Pakistan,” he said. — PTI