U.S. officials “firmly believe” that al-Qaida leaders who planned and carried out the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are hiding in Pakistan near its border with Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday.
At a news conference concluding three days of meetings, Clinton said Washington has told the Pakistani government what it believes about the location of al-Qaida leaders on its soil.
“With respect to the location of those who were part of the planning and execution of the attack of 9/11 against our country, we firmly believe that a significant number of them are in the border area of Pakistan,” she said when asked about the U.S. view.
“We are actively looking for additional information that would lead us to them,” she added.
The Pakistani government denies that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his senior lieutenants are hiding on its territory.
Bin Laden is believed to have fled into Pakistan from Afghanistan weeks after the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks.