Musharraf: Terrorists Likely Killed in U.S. Airstrike
OSLO, Norway – Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday there were indications that Al Qaeda members were killed in a U.S. airstrike near the Afghan border on Jan. 13.
"Investigations have found that there are foreigners there, that is for sure, in the general area," Musharraf said about the airstrike in the northern Pakistan village of Damadola in which at least 13 residents were killed.
"There is an indication that there were some people also, Al Qaeda people, who have got killed and we need to ascertain that. I'm not 100 percent sure of that," Musharraf said, answering audience questions after a speech at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.
Pakistani government officials have said there were foreign militants in the area and that some were killed in the airstrike but they have not yet found the bodies. Intelligence officials said they believe the attack managed to kill at least four Al Qaeda members who were meeting in Damadola, including a top bomb-maker.
The missile strike, which the United States said targeted but missed Usama bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has infuriated many Pakistanis. But Pakistani officials are still taking care to affirm their loyalty to the United States in the war on terrorism.
Musharraf told the crowd that U.S. officials had said "that they will not act against Pakistan's interests."
"But my regret is, however, these foreigners are there and we need to eliminate these foreigners," he added.
Musharraf, who was on an official three-day visit to Norway, said that Pakistan is using 80,000 troops to fight terrorism in the country, and that 700 Al Qaeda members have been arrested.