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Zardari claims Osama bin Laden is dead

world Updated: Sep 10, 2009 14:08 IST
al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is dead, but has sought more international aid to expand military operations against Taliban, in areas where Americans believe he may be hiding.

Asserting that his government was fighting the militants with determination, Zardari said these efforts were hampered by what he called lack of resources.

In an interview to BBC to mark his first year in office as President, Zardari's main emphasis was on Pakistan's ailing economy and to make a pitch for much more enhanced assistance from the West.

"If the world's armies and the world's budgets cannot look after (the Afghan) side of the border, give me more time and give me the resources that I need and we will deliver," he said.

He was replying to questions when Pakistan would act against Taliban militants based on its soil who carried out cross-border attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

On Osama, Pakistan President, however, did not put forward any evidence or details in support of his claim that world's most wanted terrorist was no longer alive. Even earlier Zardari had put forward the same claim, which was not accepted by Washington.

His remarks on Osama being dead run contrary to American belief that al-Qaeda chief is alive and is hiding in Pakistan's restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.