Hamza bin Laden, son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. File Photo
Hamza bin Laden, son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. File Photo

Hamza bin Laden was groomed by Pakistan, was its strategic asset: Defence Expert

ANI | Updated: Sep 14, 2019 23:18 IST

New Delhi[India], Sept 14 (ANI): Osama bin Laden's son Hamza, who was confirmed killed in a counter-terror operation by the US, was emerging as the new al-Qaeda leader and was being groomed as a "very important strategic asset" of Pakistani military establishment, according to defence expert Qamar Agha.
Hamza was apparently moved to the Pakistan-Afghanistan area after Islamabad was placed in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the defence expert said on Saturday after US President Donald Trump announced that the terrorist was killed in a counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.
"Hamza bin Laden was involved in operational activities and had close ties with other organisations associated with al Qaeda," said Agha.
He said Osama Bin Laden, Hamza bin Laden, al Qaeda's chief Ayman al-Zawahiri were are all very important strategic assets of Pakistani military establishment.
"They were groomed by Pakistani Army or ISI and they were being sheltered by them. When Pakistan was placed in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistani military establishment moved the al- Qaeda operatives to Pakistan-Afghanistan area which is quite secured and which is basically secured by Pakistani military establishment," he told ANI.
"So the movement, it looks, was discovered by the Americans and they got him killed. They themselves were not having an exact position which they later learnt because the date of his killing is not yet confirmed," he added.
Agha said the US President has confirmed his killing and his information must be very strong and from different sources.
The defence expert said that Pakistan was grooming Hamza bin Laden as the next leader of al Qaeda.
"Because al-Zawahiri is old, belongs to the old school of thought, this is the new leader who was emerging. He has good contact with other organisations which are associated with al Qaeda. And he was also taking interest in the operation," he said.
Agha also pointed out another important factor in al-Qaeda about the youth from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries wanted the leadership to remain with the Gulf Arabs.
"They were not happy with al-Zawahiri becoming the leader of al-Qaeda after killing of Osama bin Laden but it was Pakistan which put its foot down and made him the leader. That was one of the major reason for the split of al-Qaeda and then Baghdadi formed ISIS or Daish so that the leadership remains with the Arabs of the Persian Gulf region," he said.
Osama bin Laden, who was founder of al Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan in 2011 by the United States Navy SEALs.
"The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group. Hamza bin Laden was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups," Trump said in the statement released by the White House.
Last month, The NBC News had quoted three unnamed US government officials as saying that the US has obtained intelligence about the death of Hamza bin Laden. The officials had not provided details of where or when he died or whether the US played a role in his death.
Hamza bin Laden is believed to have made his last public appearance in 2018. He was regarded as the likely successor to the organisation's chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Earlier this year, the US State Department had offered a reward of USD 1 million for information on the whereabouts of Hamza. The State Department had identified him as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" in January 2017. (ANI)