Pak terms US drone strikes 'futile', claims Laden is in Afghanistan

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London, July 12 (ANI) : Claiming that no top Al-Qaeda leader is present inside its territory, Pakistan has termed the continuous US drones attacks in its 'lawless' tribal areas along the Afghanistan border as 'futile'.

The Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, has claimed that neither bin Laden nor any 'big fish' of Al-Qaeda were present in Pakistan.

Malik said Laden could not have escaped the Pakistan Army if he happened to be in the country.

"If Osama was in Pakistan, we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months," The Times quoted Malik, as saying.

He claimed that bin Laden is hiding in Afghanistan itself.

"According to our information, Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar," said Malik.

Malik insisted that the drone strikes were a waste of time, as the Al-Qaeda leadership was in eastern Afghanistan.

"They're getting mid-level people not big fish. And they are counterproductive because they are killing civilians and turning locals against our government. We try to win people's hearts, then one drone attack drives them away," he said.

Malik's statement came a day after a US Senator asked Islamabad to accept its 'tacit approval' of the drone hits.

Senator Carl Levin, told a Congressional hearing that the attacks would not have taken place without the 'tacit approval' of the Pakistani leadership, so it was wrong on Islamabad's part to blame the US for the missile hits.

"For them to look the other way or to give us the green light privately and then to attack us publicly leaves us, it seems to me, at a very severe disadvantage and loss with the Pakistani people," said Levin.

Officials said that despite Pakistan's double faced attitude on the issue, the US is working to develop a new strategy to reduce stirring tension between both the countries.

Pakistan has been criticizing the Obama administration for the drone strikes against the insursents in the tribal areas, saying that the attacks are proving 'counterproductive' in its war on terror, as they had killed far more civilians than militants.

Official Pakistani sources claimed that since 2006, the drones have killed 700 civilians and only 14 militants. (ANI)

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