New Delhi: Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of Al-Qaeda and the known as mentor and successor of Osama bin Laden, remains a key planner in an attack threat to America is hiding in Pakistan, under the protection of Inter Services Intelligence, ISI according to a Newsweek report this week.
Quoting several "authoritative sources" the weekly news magazine said that al-Zawahiri has been in Pakistan ever since the United States attacked Afghanistan in 2001, in response to the horrific 9/11 attacks.
Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has been protecting the Egyptian-born al-Zwahari, who is trained surgeon, since the U.S Navy Seals evicted Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan in laste 2001. The US was likely in the know about his whearabouts, since January last year, the Barack Obama administration went after him with a drone and almost got him.
"The drone hit the next room where Dr. Zawahiri's was staying," a "senior" militant from region told Newsweek. "The shared wall collapsed, and debris from the explosion showered on him and broke his glasses, but luckily he was safe," the militant added.
In fact, al-Zawahri, has survived 'several' attacks since 2001. The Al-Qaieda leader was 'no longer welcome' in areas controlled by his group because it 's engaged in peace negotiations with the Afghan government and doesn't want to seen as "threat to world peace".
According to Newsweeks, multiple sources, al-Zwahari has been hiding in Karachi, a part town. "Like everything about his location, there's no positive proof," a CIA vetran of 30 years, BruceRiedel, told the news weekly.
"There are pretty good indications in that direction… this would be a logical place to hide out, where he would feel pretty comfortable that the Americans can't come and get him," he is quoted as saying.
Riedel goes on to tell that the United States is looking forward to eliminate al-Zawahiri, it would be "very hard" to launch an operation , similar to one that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
"If he was in someplace along the border with Afghanistan, I think the temptation would be enormous to go after him… but in Karachi, that would be stunning and very difficult," Ridel adds.
The 30 year old CIA veteran, Bruce Riedel points out a 2014 plot by Al-Qaeda to place sympathizers on a Pakistani frigate, hijack it and use it to "attack American naval ships n the Indian Ocean, or maybe Indian ships, or maybe both."