Ambassador Durrani Wants
Osama 'Strung up' on Pole
DC: Reaffirming Pakistan's commitment to the war on terrorism,
Ambassador Mahmud Durrani has said that his government was
not only pursuing Osama bin Laden, but all his associates.
"Our commitment is total and absolute," Durrani
said in a telephone interview with CNN, the international
network which carried a two-hour documentary "In the
Footsteps of bin Laden," last Wednesday night.
"This is in our national interest. We want to get rid
of extremism and terrorism,” Ambassador Durrani said
while responding to questions from CNN.
The two-hour special, reported by CNN's correspondent Christiane
Amanpour, was based on terrorism expert Peter Bergen's book,
"The Osama bin Laden I know."
Would he like Osama bin Laden captured or killed?
"I would like to see bin Laden strung up from the tallest
pole," Durrani said. "He is no friend of Pakistan."
He added that he believes bin Laden is "somewhere in
But some of the US intelligence officials and experts, who
appeared in the documentary, said Osama bin Laden is likely
hiding in Chitral area, bounded by Afghanistan to the west
and China to the north.
Contrary to popular belief, the officials said, bin Laden
most likely isn't living in a cave but in a house, possibly
with a family and no more than two bodyguards. However,
the Pakistan ambassador said Chitral is "the last place
Osama bin Laden would be," citing both cultural and
"They don't like him," he said. "In Chitral,
he would stand out like a sore thumb."
Durrani said Pakistan and the United States are working
cooperatively to share intelligence.
The belief that Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan is also based
in part on common sense, the CNN report said. Every senior
al Qaeda leader who has been captured since September 11,
2001 has been run to the ground in Pakistan. Also, the al-Qaeda
has deep roots in the country, where it was founded by bin
Laden in 1988, the network said.
"Bin Laden started visiting Pakistan in the early 1980s
and is comfortable there. He enjoys a degree of safety there
because while there are some 20,000 US troops and 15,000
NATO troops inside neighboring Afghanistan, none are able
to go into Pakistan because no Pakistani government will
allow foreign troops on its territory," the report
"And despite what the Pakistan ambassador says, some
believe the Pakistani government has had little appetite
for hunting down bin Laden as he arguably enjoys more popularity
in Pakistan than any Pakistani politician".
Gary Berntsen, who led a CIA paramilitary unit pursuing
bin Laden shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks,
said Pakistan is a country bin Laden knows well. He feels
at home there and enjoys popular support. It's also a country
where the US military is not welcome. "It's likely
that he's in Pakistan," he told CNN as part of the
Berntsen said there are Pakistanis who remember bin Laden's
work from the 1980s, when he set up what is known as the
Services Bureau in Peshawar to help refugees fleeing the
Soviets in Afghanistan. "They have as a custom [of]
not turning in individuals," Berntsen said. "He
has sought refuge among them.”