Al-Qaeda leadership in Quetta, claims US diplomat

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Peshawar, Dec.5 (ANI): While the US has been raising concern about the presence of top Taliban commanders in Pakistan, it has now claimed that some Al-Qaeda leaders are also hiding in Quetta, capital of Balochistan.

Addressing media persons here, the US consul-general in Peshawar, Candace Putnam said there are intelligence inputs which shows that some Al-Qaeda leaders are sitting in Quetta.

"I don't know where Osama bin Laden is on any given day, but we do know that some of the leadership is sitting in Quetta and that they travel back and forth from Afghanistan to Pakistan," Putnam said.

Putnam said Islamabad is also aware about Al-Qaeda's presence, but it has refused to accept that fact.

"We know that they are there. And I think your government also knows this. Whether they want to say this in public or not but I think they know they are there," she said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has rebuked Putnam's claims as 'speculation' and 'misleading'.

"This is but sheer speculation. If there is any credible information, it should be shared with us through government channels rather than making misleading statements through the media," The Dawn quoted Basit, as saying.

Basit claimed that Pakistan's own intelligence shows that the Taliban leadership was in Afghanistan.

"Otherwise, they would have long been handled, given our unflinching commitment against violent extremism. Our actions against terrorism speak for themselves," he added. (ANI)

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