My Interview with AQ expert Prof.Gunaratna

by Florian Flade

R ecently I contacted Prof.Rohan Gunaratna, a well-known al-Qa eda expert and author based in Singapore, for a short Question&Answer exchange on „Where is Osama Bin Laden?“

Prof.Gunaratna is the head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

He is a leading and widely-respected expert on the terror network al-Qaeda in South Asia.

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Here is my brief Q&A with Prof.Gunaratna

Is Osama Bin Laden alive? If so, where is he?

Osama Bin Laden is alive in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) (of Pakistan). It is most likely that he is living in North Waziristan Agency. Pakistan and its government needs more resources and support to hunt him down.

What is his influence today on al-Qaeda and the conflicts/wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen etc? Is he in command? Does he give orders?

Osama Bin Laden is still the most influential al-Qaeda leader. He is both a strategic leader that provides overall direction as well as operational guidance.

Is Osama Bin Laden still important for the organization or the idea that is now al-Qaeda?

Osama Bin Laden has completed his mission of spawning an ideology that is self sustaining and support that is self generating.

What do you think he thinks about the past nine years since 9/11?

During his own lifetime, Osama Bin Laden has witnessed success of spawning a movement that will last beyond his life span.

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Prof.Rohan Gunaratna is author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (Columbia University Press)

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