Hamza bin Laden might have been under Pakistan Army's protective care: Defence Expert

New Delhi: There is a possibility that Osama bin Laden's son Hamza, must have been under the "protective care" of the Pakistan army and his death is a "big blow" to Islamabad's effort to take advantage of US, said defence expert SP Sinha on Saturday.

The killing of Hamza is a clear indication that the US is not going to give a "lot of importance" to Pakistan, which is recklessly trying to "manoeuvre and lure" America to such a position so that they can extract maximum benefit from Washington in terms of aid and diplomacy, Sinha said.

Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump confirmed the killing of Hamza bin Laden in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Trump said that the high profile al-Qaeda member was killed during a counter-terrorism operation by the US. "There is a possibility he (Hamza Bin Laden) could have been under the protective care of the Pakistan army and this death is a big blow to Pakistan effort to extract maximum mileage from the US," Sinha told ANI.

"The son of Osama bin Laden was on the same path as his father. The killing of bin laden son is an indication of the fact that now American could not care less and American is serious about the role of the Taliban, America is not going to give a lot of importance to Pakistan initiative and Pakistan is trying to trap America into its network," he added. Sinha contended that the world's powerful nations should target other terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahudeen, and Masood Azhar also.

"Time has come when the leading nations of the world have to identify who are the global terrorists--like Hafiz Saeed, Syed Salahudeen, Masood Azhar. They also need to be targeted if the world has to enjoy peace. There have to be concentrated efforts," he added. On Pakistan role in the Afghan peace process, Sinha said that Pakistan is trying to manoeuvre by saying that they can play an important role with regard to Taliban coming closure to the US.

"America is keen on withdrawing from Afghanistan. Pakistan is trying to manoeuvre by saying that they can play an important role with regard to Taliban coming closure to the US," Sinha said Similar sentiments were echoed by another defence Expert Qamar Agha who said that Hamza was emerging as the new al-Qaeda leader and was being groomed as a "very important strategic asset" of the Pakistani military establishment.

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," Qamar Agha told ANI.

Osama bin Laden, who was the founder of al Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan in 2011 by the United States Navy SEALs. 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.

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