DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – Pakistan on Wednesday rejected a claim by the U.S. intelligence chief that Usama bin Laden and his deputy were hiding in northwestern Pakistan, and that Al Qaeda was setting up camps near the Afghan border.
Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, told The Associated Press there were no Al Qaeda training camps in his country and U.S. officials had not provided any intelligence suggesting there were.
"We will act on any such intelligence, but so far they have not" provided any, he said.
Also Wednesday, suspected Islamic militants captured and beheaded an Afghan teacher whom they accused of being a spy for the United States, an official said.
The man's body was found early Tuesday in a large sack dumped by a road near Jandola, a town in the South Waziristan tribal district, the local security official said. He asked not to be identified due to the sensitive nature of his job.
The area is a stronghold for pro-Taliban militants suspected of harboring Al Qaeda remnants in remote tribal regions along a porous, poorly defined section of border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mike McConnell, the new U.S. intelligence chief, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that Al Qaeda was trying to set up operations in largely ungoverned parts of Pakistan's northwest, along Afghanistan's eastern border.
"It's something we're very worried about and very concerned about," McConnell said. U.S. intelligence officials believe that bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were trying to establish an Al Qaeda base in the region, he said. McConnell noted the camps are in an area that has never been governed by any state or outside power.
A note found with the beheaded man's body identified him as "Akhtar Usman, the one who spied for America," the official said.
He said the forehead of the man's severed head was inscribed with the word for "hypocrite" in Urdu, Pakistan's main language.
Usman, in his 30s, was a teacher at an Islamic school in nearby North Waziristan and was known to have spoken out against militants in the area, the official said.