Bin Laden alive, in Pakistan: US intelligence
Mike McConnell also blames Musharraf Govt for allowing Qaeda to regroup through a peace deal with tribal leaders.Updated: Jul 24, 2007, 12:33 IST
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is alive and hiding in Pakistan along the country's border with Afghanistan, US intelligence chief Mike McConnell has said.
The National Intelligence director also blamed President Pervez Musharraf's government for allowing Al-Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan by striking a controversial peace deal with local tribal leaders last year, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.
"My view is that he's alive," said McConnell on NBC television when asked about Bin Laden. "I believe he is in the tribal region of Pakistan."
Last week a US intelligence report said Al-Qaeda had regrouped in its "safe haven" inside Pakistan.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri reacted angrily to the charges that Bin Laden was in the country and dared America to provide evidence.
"Pakistan's commitment cannot be doubted by anybody and that is why some of our people do not like what we read in some of your newspapers, which are more like leaks, and calculated leaks," he said.
Kasuri said instead of intelligence estimates, the US should give Pakistan "evidence" and "actionable intelligence" on the presence of Al-Qaeda.
Violence has intensified in the tribal area of North Waziristan since militants scrapped the peace deal with the government last week.
Despite Musharraf's robust pledges to combat extremists after the siege of the Red Mosque in Islamabad, Kasuri said on Sunday that his government was working to salvage its agreement with the militants.
Musharraf's military campaign in the tribal areas has cost the lives of 600 soldiers.