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7/12/2019 Interview: Hamid Mir, The Last Man To Interview Osama Bin Laden

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Interview: Hamid Mir, The Last Man To Interview Osama


Bin Laden
May 02, 2011 19:18 GMT

Hamid Mir is a Pakistani journalist who first achieved global fame for his multiple
interviews with Osama bin Laden. H was the last journalist to speak with bin Laden, in
December 2001, before the Al-Qaeda leader disappeared underground.

Today, Mir works as a news anchor at the private Pakistani TV network GEO, where he
hosts a popular political talk show named "Capital Talk." He spoke with RFE/RL's
Muhammad Tahir.

RFE/RL: What does the killing of Osama bin Laden mean for the war on terror ?

Hamid Mir: I think that this news about the killing of Osama bin Laden is the biggest
story of the year 2011. It was a great surprise for most of the Pakistanis that Osama bin
Laden, the world's most-wanted person, was hiding in a city which is just 60
kilometers away from the Pakistani city of Islamabad.

RFE/RL: So what does this mean for the future of Al-Qaeda? Who is the most likely
candidate to replace bin Laden?

Mir: I think most of the people are of the view that Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri is the No. 2
in Al-Qaeda. I don't think so. Mr. al-Zawahri is no more the No. 2 in Al-Qaeda.
According to my information, the operations of Al-Qaeda were taken over by Saif-ul-
Adil and Abu Hafsa al- Mauritani. These are the two important people in Al-Qaeda after
the assassination of Osama bin Laden.


Yes, bin Laden is dead, but Al-Qaeda and its allies are not dead, and
their biggest strength is the hatred against America in many parts of the
world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And I think that Osama bin Laden is dead, but Al-Qaeda and its allies are still not dead.

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7/12/2019 Interview: Hamid Mir, The Last Man To Interview Osama Bin Laden

Immediately after...the killing of Osama bin Laden there was a big bomb blast in the
Pakistani city of Charsada, which is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Many people
were killed.

Now I think that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban will try to take revenge [on] Pakistan
because they believe that the Pakistani security forces provided some cooperation to
the Americans.

RFE/RL: From the outside, though, it really does look as though the Pakistanis didn't
have advance knowledge of the operation and don't seem to have been involved in it.
And then there is the simple fact that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan. How is this
going to a ect Pakistani-U.S. relations?

Mir: According to my information, the Pakistani intelligence [service] provided and


shared information about the possible presence of Osama bin Laden in that area first of
all in May 2010 and again they provided that information to the Americans in August
2010. And I think that on the basis of that information the Americans were able to track
down the hideout of Osama bin Laden.

Yes, they [the United States] never provided prior information about this particular
operation. They never informed the Pakistani security forces about this operation,
which was conducted this morning. But I have very confirmed and credible information
that the Pakistani agencies shared the information with the Americans about bin Laden
in August 2010 and that information actually helped [the] Americans to further find out
the hideout of bin Laden.

RFE/RL: How will his killing a ect Taliban activities in the region, particularly in
Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan?

Mir: Certainly this is a big blow to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban because Osama bin Laden
was not very active in the last couple of years. But certainly he was a symbol of
resistance against America. So his physical elimination is certainly a big setback.

Yes, bin Laden is dead, but Al-Qaeda and its allies are not dead, and their biggest
strength is the hatred against America in many parts of the world, including
Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Now is the time that the Americans should give some serious consideration that the
physical elimination is OK. They have eliminated bin Laden physically but now they
must try to eliminate his political philosophy through some political actions.

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7/12/2019 Interview: Hamid Mir, The Last Man To Interview Osama Bin Laden

RFE/RL: How is this going to a ect the image of Pakistan? Pakistan's leaders always
denied any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts, yet now we discover that he was
living in an area close to sensitive military installations deep inside the country. Won't
this confirm many suspicions that the Pakistani government has been playing a double
game?

Mir: I think that it was the Pakistani intelligence which actually provided information
to the Americans and these types of things cannot be discussed in [the] media. When
the U.S. media was saying that he is hiding in Pakistan and at that time [the] Pakistani
side was saying, "OK, if you have information, then provide that information to us and
we will take action." But there was some misunderstanding.

But right from the arrest of Abu Zubaydah and the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
and from the arrest of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, and now the elimination of bin Laden --
every target was achieved by the active help of Pakistanis and now the Americans
should not doubt about the intentions of their Pakistani counterparts. If they are to
improve further relations between Pakistan and America, they have to trust each other.

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