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Former Pakistan Leader Musharraf Warns of al-Qaeda Retaliation

May 3, 2011
(By Lara Setrakian and Vivian Salama – May 3, 2011)

The former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, warned of retaliation by al-Qaeda’s followers in the aftermath of the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group.

“They will react, they will react violently maybe,” he told Bloomberg Television today in an interview at his home in Dubai.

Whatever the short-term risks, he added, the U.S. raid “will be beneficial because the big leader of al-Qaeda has been eliminated.”

The decade it took to locate bin Laden after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, highlights an intelligence failure for both the United States and Pakistan, he said.

“This was a failure of intelligence on both sides,” Musharraf said, adding that he is “very sure” Pakistani authorities did not know that bin Laden was holed up in a villa in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

The elimination of bin Laden doesn’t lift the threat of terrorist attacks, he said. “We think very naively” to believe the fight against terrorism ends with the death of Bin Laden.

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that bin Laden had been killed in a firefight with U.S. forces. U.S. officials said that they didn’t share their intelligence about the al- Qaeda leader with any other country and that they informed Pakistani officials only when the operation was over.

Musharraf, predecessor to Pakistan’s current president, Ali Asif Zardari, worked closely with the administration of President George W. Bush in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. The former general stepped down in 2008 in the face of opposition pressure and now lives in exile.

— Editors: Terry Atlas, Leslie Hoffecker

To contact the reporter on this story: Vivian Salama in Abu Dhabi at vsalama@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

Source: Bloomberg

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