Zawahiri’s daughters and the other woman, along with their children, were returned to Egypt.
Pakistan released two daughters of Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri and another woman in exchange for former army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s abducted son, a media report has claimed. There has, however, been no formal news of Kayani’s son even being abducted.
The Long War Journal, a project of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, has based its report on the 20th edition of Al Masra magazine affiliated with the AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – published in late August, which said the prisoners’ swap took place weeks ago.
However the Al Masra report, which did not name Kayani’s son, could not be independently confirmed.
According to the Long War Journal report:
“If the militant organisation is merely boasting, then that is noteworthy. But if Al Qaeda did manage to kidnap Kayani’s son and force the Pakistani government’s hand, then this indicates Zawahiri’s men have a disturbingly long reach inside of Pakistan,”
“Although retired, Kayani is one of the most powerful figures in the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, which has long sponsored jihadis, including the Al Qaeda-allied Taleban,” the report added.
The report claimed that a series of tweets posted in mid-August revealed militants had accused the Pakistan Army of detaining Zawahiri’s daughters, as well as the daughter of Sheikh Murjan Salem Al Jawhari, as part of its “infidel” war on the mujahideen. The Twitter account has now been suspended.
“The Twitter user, who is likely an Al Qaeda media operative, further claimed Al Qaeda was left with two ways to deal with the situation. He included a picture of Kayani to emphasise that this is the Pakistani leader he meant. Al-Qaeda’s account referred to Kayani as if he is active, even though he has been retired for nearly three years,” the report said, adding that it was unclear if the purported exchange took place in late July or early August.
The report went on to suggest that even though the army had initially “refused” the proposed exchange, they eventually agreed after lengthy negotiations. Zawahiri’s daughters and the other woman, along with their children, were eventually returned to Egypt.