Pakistan — Pakistan's top security official Monday admitted that al-Qaida's leadership moved freely in and out of the country and vowed that "no mercy" would be shown to extremists based in its tribal territory that borders Afghanistan.
In the past, Pakistan has been heavily criticized for rejecting evidence that al-Qaida was largely based in the country and for denying that the tribal territory was used as a safe haven for Afghan insurgents.
Rehman Malik, the interior ministry chief, revealed that al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al Zawahiri and his wife had been in Mohmand, part of the tribal area. Most of time, Malik said Zawahiri was mainly in Afghanistan's Kunar and Paktia provinces.
Malik, a politician in charge of the interior minister after his Pakistan People's Party was the largest group in a coalition government that formed after elections in February, gave no further details on Zawahiri's movements. In the past, Islamabad has refuted suggestions that Zawahiri and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden were hiding in Pakistan.