KABUL - There have been reports for a long time that Taliban leader Mullah Omar is hiding in Karachi, which I think is almost certainly true, Bruce Riedel a US terrorism expert and a former advisor to President Obama has said.
Dier Spiegel has interviewed Bruce Riedel about the impact of Bin Laden's death on al-Qaeda network and how the US should respond to the double game that Pakistan is playing.
Mr. Riedel has told Spiegel that the most interesting development was finding the location where Osama had holed himself up.
He was not hiding in a cave in Waziristan, he was not in a tribal area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Instead, he was found in Abbottabad which is a garrison city 48 km from Islamabad, Bruce Riedel has said.
He has said finding Osama in Abbottabad, which is home to three regiments of the Pakistan army and a retirement city for Pakistani officers, raised very puzzling and significant questions about who protected Bin Laden over the last several years.
While other senior al-Qaeda officials have been captured in Pakistan, Mr. Riedel thinks "it is almost certainly true" that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is living somewhere in Karachi.
When asked about who the closest allies of al-Qaeda are in Pakistan, Riedel said it has been known for a long time that al-Qaeda has had close connections with the Pakistani Taliban which has also cooperated with al-Qaeda in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
But the bigger question is what did the Pakistani army and the Pakistani intelligence service know? And how high up in the chain of command did that knowledge go? Spiegel quotes Bruce Riedel as saying.
The US had not informed Pakistan government about the raid on Bin Laden's compound in advance over fears that the mission would be jeopardized.
Asked if that can be seen as an indication of US's concrete suspicion towards Pakistan, Bruce Riedel has said he would rather call it "deep mistrust" than suspicion.
Suspicion is the wrong word; it is deep mistrust. The Obama administration has never had any illusions about Pakistan. I think they understood right from the beginning that Pakistan was playing a double game -- or at least that the Pakistani army was. But this will reinforce those concerns and lead to tensions," he has said.
He has said no one believes that President Asif Ali Zardari had any knowledge of Bin Laden's whereabouts as Zardari's wife, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered by al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban.
He has also added that Zardari's government is globally considered weak and unable to control Pakistani intelligence services.
Obama and the West should now focus on strengthening the civilian government while being concerned about the military, Mr. Riedel has said.
He has said the reason for ISI's support of Al-Qaeda could be loyalty to the common cause of global jihad, anti-Americanism or a combination of motives.
President Obama is said to be travelling to Pakistan this year and Mr. Riedel has said the US President must signal how serious he is about democracy in Pakistan. (Tolo News)