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Musharraf pledges to 'eliminate' Al Qaeda

March 27, 2004 12:09 IST

Heaping scorn at an audio tape purported to be from Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, seeking the overthrow of his government, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Friday asserted he would  "eliminate" all Al Qaeda terrorists.

"Now as far as if he's taunting me. Well, I would like to say that I'm going to eliminate all of them," he said in an interview to ABC television network a day after the audio tape urged Pakistan's military to support Al Qaeda and overthrow Musharraf.
"Can Zawahiri take over? I mean, Zawahiri is on the run. For heaven's sake, it's just one tape. Let's not get excited. Just one tape which, even if he's all alone somewhere in the mountain with Osama (bin Laden), he can make that tape and issue it. What is the worry? They can never take over," he said.

Asked if he was sure that he would get bin Laden and  Zawahiri before they get him, Musharraf said he could not be
100 per cent sure. "I mean I am quite loose at my security. But I believe in destiny, and since we have unearthed so much, I'm sure  things will be all right. I am very sure we will eliminate Al Qaeda from our region," he said.

Asked whether Zawahiri was in the areas surrounded by Pakistan forces and escaped or was he never there, Musharraf said he had never named him. "Actually, this word 'high-value target' originated with me. I did say that because of the fierceness with which they were defending, I'm not at all sure that it was  Zawahiri," he added.


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