Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other top operatives of the terrorist network are hiding in Afghanistan, probably in Kunar area, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said, describing as futile US drone attacks within his country as no "big fish" was present there.
"If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months."
"If he and all these four or five top people were in our areas they would have been caught, the way we are searching," Malik told The Sunday Times, adding that US missile attacks against them in Pakistan are futile.
According to information available with Pakistani officials, Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar, he said.
Pakistani officials say that the US has carried out more than 40 drone attacks inside Pakistani territory in the past 10 months, killing hundreds of people.
CIA officials claim these attacks have been highly effective in disrupting al-Qaeda's ability to operate. However, Malik insisted they are a waste of time because the al-Qaeda leadership is on the other side of the border in eastern Afghanistan.
"They're getting mid-level people not big fish", he said.