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‘Osama key to Qaeda defeat’

Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden is the key to defeating the Al Qaeda terror network, the top US military commander in Afghanistan told US legislators on Tuesday.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2009 01:06 IST
Rezaul H Laskar

Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden is the key to defeating the Al Qaeda terror network, the top US military commander in Afghanistan told US legislators on Tuesday.

“I believe he is an iconic figure at this point whose survival emboldens Al Qaeda as a franchising organisation across the world,” said General Stanley McChrystal, testifying in Congress about the US military surge of forces in Afghanistan.

“It would not defeat Al Qaeda to have him captured or killed, but I don’t think that we can finally defeat Al Qaeda until he’s captured or killed,” McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

US officials believe that bin Laden — considered the chief mastermind of the attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people — is hiding along the mountainous Afghan-Pakistani border.

US ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, also testifying at the hearing, said that capturing or killing bin Laden “does remain important to the American people — indeed, the people of the world.”

McChrystal and Eikenberry testified about the renewed push in the Afghan war after President Barack Obama ordered an additional 30,000 troops to the country.

We have conserved our energy to take on army when it snows: Mehsud

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has claimed that the militants have not lost their morale due to a major military offensive in South Waziristan tribal region and said they have “conserved” their energy to take on the army when it snows.

“We will wait till January for our offensive since we are stronger during the snowing season,” said Hakimullah.

Hakimullah said he remained confident despite the large-scale military operation targeting him and his fighters in South Waziristan Agency bordering Afghanistan. “We have conserved our energy and have not lost our morale,” he said.