Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is being sheltered by Pakistan’s ISI, possibly in Karachi, and the Islamic terrorist’s “desperate last wish” is a last, big, blowout attack on the US “before folding his eyes”, multiple sources told Newsweek. As for Hamza bin Laden, al-Zawahiri’s dead protege’s son, he, too, is in Pakistan, also being sheltered by the ISI, a former top Pakistani official said to Newsweek.
The Pakistani intelligence agency been protecting al-Zawahiri since US forces evicted Al-Qaida from Afghanistan in late 2001, according to several sources that Newsweek terms “authoritative”. And the US was likely in the know about his whereabouts, because last year in January, the Barack Obama administration went after him with a drone and almost got him.
“The drone hit next to the room where Dr. Zawahiri 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-Zawahiri, has survived “several” drone attacks since 2001, an Afghan Taliban leader told Newsweek. He added that the Al-Qaida 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 be seen as “a threat to world peace.”
That’s why the ISI – which the Afghan Taliban refers to as “the black leg” – moved al-Zawahiri to Karachi. The Pakistani port city “makes sense” as a sanctuary, the former Pakistani official told Newsweek. That’s because the city has widespread sympathies for militant Islam, has congested 19th-century streets and a large Pakistani military presence.
In fact, it’s the same official who said he is a “100 percent” sure that bin Laden’s 26-year-old son, Hamza, a rising “star”, is also in the country under ISI protection. Several experts say that till today, Al-Qaida remains a potent force with the ability to attack the US again and that the Donald Trump administration recognizes that.
In fact, Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran, points to a 2014 plot by Al-Qaeda to place sympathizers on a Pakistani frigate, hijack it and use it to “attack American naval ships in the Indian Ocean, or maybe Indian ships, or maybe both.” As Riedel told Newsweek: Imagine if a Pakistani frigate packed with explosives—or a nuclear device—”sank an American aircraft carrier”.