Islamabad, Jul 10: The Pakistan military today asked the US to share “actionable intelligence” about terrorist leaders believed to be hiding in the country's tribal belt, including al-Qaeda's new emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, so that it could conduct targeted operations against them.
“We expect the US intelligence establishment to share available information and actionable intelligence regarding al-Zawahiri and other high value targets with us, enabling the Pakistan Army to carry out targeted operations,” said a spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations. The military spokesman was responding to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's statement about al-Qaeda leaders being present in Pakistan's tribal belt. The Pakistan Army is “already carrying out intense operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates who are a threat to the security of our country and people,” the spokesman said.
These operations include “pursuit and targeting the terrorist leadership and high value targets”, said Panetta, who arrived in Kabul yesterday on an unannounced trip. Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda, was killed during a covert US raid on the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2.
Since then, the US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to move against several top terrorist leaders believed to be hiding in the country, including Zawahiri and Ilyas Kashmiri. Panetta, who took over as Defense Secretary on July 1, oversaw the US raid against bin Laden as director of the CIA.
“Obviously we made an important start...in getting rid of bin Laden,” he said, adding “I think now is the moment...I do believe that if we continue this effort, we can really cripple Al Qaeda as a threat to (the US).” PTI