“You don’t talk to the media if you have information like this … he would claim the bounty money, not speak to the media.”
Sadiq said that if Pakistan knew where bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were based, then “we would take action”.
Search for bin Laden
The US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a media briefing on Friday that “the iconic leaders of al-Qaeda, [Ayman al-] Zawahiri [and] bin Laden … are in the tribal areas of Pakistan”.
“We believe that the Taliban’s shura (consultation) council leaders led by Mullah Omar reside in Quetta in Pakistan,” he said, referring to the capital of Baluchistan province that borders Afghanistan.
Bin Laden and the Taliban leader disappeared when US-led troops invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban after the attacks on the US World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.
The anonymous official also said that despite the presence of al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, the US administration still saw Musharraf as a worthy ally.
“There are multiple sources of pressure and instability on Musharraf and the sense here has been what he really needs is a dependable partner to see him through this period and that’s been sort of the strategic logic of supporting Musharraf,” the US official said.
Pakistan had backed the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the September 11 attacks, but Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, later threw his support behind the US-led campaign.
Pakistan has consistently denied that Mullah Omar and bin Laden are on its territory.
Source: News Agencies