Osama bin Laden and the deputy leader of al Qaeda “parted ways” six years ago, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said Thursday. The official said bin Laden had been “marginalized” by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who helped bin Laden found al Qaeda in 1988 and led its operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The killing of Osama bin Laden this week by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan has raised questions about what might have happened if bin Laden had been captured alive.
Al Qaeda released a statement on jihadist forums Friday confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist websites. The development comes days after U.S. troops killed bin Laden in a raid on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
One week ago, the chief of Pakistan’s Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, told graduating cadets in the city of Abbottabad that the “back of terrorism” in Pakistan had been broken, thanks to the sacrifices of Pakistan’s soldiers.