Bin Laden: Freezing Accounts Won't Hurt Us

By T.C. Malhotra | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

New Delhi ( - A Pakistani newspaper on Friday quoted Saudi militant Osama bin Laden as saying that U.S. efforts to freeze the bank accounts of the al-Qaeda network will not affect the organization.

"It will not make any difference," bin Laden was quoted as saying in an interview in the Urdu-language newspaper "Ummat." "By the grace of God, al-Qaeda has more than three different alternative financial networks," he added.

"It is being run around the world by well-educated youth. We do not have a few hundred or a few thousand but hundreds and thousands of highly educated youth, who were well aware of all these things and know the alternatives," Bin Laden was quoted as saying.

However, the accuracy of the report could not be confirmed. The Karachi-based newspaper said it had delivered its questions to Osama bin Laden and received written responses through Taliban officials.

Media reports in Pakistan said the government of President Pervez Musharraf has directed all its law-enforcement agencies to crack down on Islamic activists who have resorted to violence.

"Some people have been picked up for intensive investigation and interrogation that are likely to provide vital information about bin Laden," the report quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The U.S. reportedly has special operations units on the ground in Afghanistan who would be very interested in any intelligence Pakistan or any other country can provide.