US claim that Bin Laden is nearly captured is politicking: Rashid
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Sheikh Rashid rejected as pre-election politicking a US official’s weekend claim that Osama Bin Laden was close to being captured.
“He can say this but we have no sound information. This is a political statement,” he said.
Joseph Cofer Black, US State Department official in charge of counter-terrorism affairs, told Geo television on Saturday that the forces pursuing the Al Qaeda chief had got closer to him in the past two months.
“If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught,” said Black, who headed a US delegation to Islamabad for bilateral anti-terrorism talks. “What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he’s been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programmes and infrastructure in place.”
Sheikh Rashid, however, said no new information had come to light despite a series of high-profile Al Qaeda arrests which began in mid-July.
“I think there is no confirmed information about him. We have no knowledge. Maybe he (Black) has. We exchange our information but we have no new information,” the minister said. “There has been no change in the information since then.”
President George Bush has made the US-led toppling of the Taliban and the capture of several Bin Laden close aides a key plank of his re-election campaign in the lead up to November presidential polls. afp