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GLOBAL EXCLUSIVE | Al Zawahiri Killed: Ex-Afghan VP Exposes Pak; Says Al-Qaeda Chief Got 'direct Assistance'

Talking exclusively to Republic TV, ex-Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh shared his thoughts on the killing of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.

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Afghanistan’s former vice president Amrullah Saleh claimed that the Taliban knew about the whereabouts of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri who was killed in a US drone strike on July 31. Slamming Pakistan, he claimed that Islamabad has always tried to monetise the situation in Afghanistan. The 49-year-old alleged that Al-Zawahiri lived under the direct protection of Pakistan.

In an exclusive conversation with Republic TV, Saleh said, "First of all, the neighbourhood where he has been killed, it's a VIP neighbourhood. And the (Afghanistan) Republic elite have left it. Without exception, every single house in that neighbourhood has been searched at least 10 times by the Haqqani network so the placement of the Al-Qaeda leader in that area could not be done without the supervision, consent and management of Taliban. And of course, we know who the Taliban are. The Taliban leaders were called Quetta Shura. They moved into Kabul with the direct assistance of the Pakistanis and I think Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan in 2011 and this time Pakistan cannot escape (by saying) that they did not know where Al-Zawahiri was."

When asked if Pakistan traded Zawahiri for an IMF loan of all things, the ex-Afghanistan VP said that the timing of the attack is very interesting as Pakistan and IMF had recently held a discussion.

"I am not sure what was the content of the discussion between the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan and IMF or the authorities in Washington. But the timing is very interesting when Pakistan asks for a loan and immediately a week later Al-Zawahiri's location is compromised. Looking at the historical pattern it tells you something, yes," he said.

He said that Pakistan has always tried to monetise the situation in Afghanistan for its own benefit. "They are buying coal almost on token price and the canned Prime Minister of Pakistan went on the record and he said his government is saving two billion dollars by purchasing coal, and of course Pakistani lorries that bring the coal to Pakistan from Afghanistan, they overload them."

'Something behind the scene between ISI, Taliban and US': Saleh

Saleh claimed that there is something behind the scenes between ISI, Taliban and America. He said that Doha Agreement says that the US wants the Taliban to collaborate on Al-Qaeda but pointed out that it does not say anything about other terrorist groups who are posing direct threats to regional countries.

"So if there is some type of cooperation from the Pakistani side on the elimination of Al Zawahiri, that type of cooperation will not be extended to regional countries like India, like Central Asia, like Russia or Iran to effectively eliminate their enemies in Afghanistan. So what I am trying to tell you, is, perhaps yes, the space is wide open for particular powers to hit terrorist targets in Afghanistan, but that space is completely closed for others like India," he said.

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