Farraj’s capture shows Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism: Rice
WASHINGTON: United States’ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that the capture of the Al Qaeda’s number three underlined Pakistan’s resolve in the battle against terrorism.
Libyan national Abu Farraj al-Libbi, considered a close associate of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, was seized on Monday after a brief shootout in Mardan. Rice said the Pakistani’s should be congratulated for their hard work, adding that the US has always acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terrorism. “They've been fighting in parts of Pakistan that have not been even opened to Pakistani forces for a very long time,” she said, “So this is a great victory for them and a great victory in the war on terrorism.”
Al-Libbi, who ranks third in the current hierarchy after Bin Laden and his Egyptian-born deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, had a five-million-dollar bounty on his head. His capture is the latest in a string of key arrests by Pakistan since President Pervez Musharraf allied himself with Washington after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States.
Al-Libbi took over Al Qaeda operations in Pakistan and the position of third in command after the arrest in March 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the key planner of September 11.
Mohammed was picked up from a house in the northern garrison city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad and his capture was hailed as the biggest coup in the war on terrorism so far.
Rice said that al-Libbi, “Is somebody that we watched a lot every single day, those of us who have been very involved in the war on terrorism, a very important figure for the Al Qaeda network.” afp