US demands Pakistan disclose names of operatives

AFP , Saturday 7 May 2011

US Administration looking for Pakistani Intelligence elements who were in contact with bin Laden

The administration of US President Barack Obama has demanded the identities of some of the top Pakistani intelligence operatives as the United States tries to determine whether any of them had contact with Osama bin Laden, The New York Times reported late Friday.

Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said members of the US administration had expressed deep frustration with the Pakistani military and intelligence for their refusal to identify members of the agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, who were believed to have close ties to bin Laden.

In particular, US officials have demanded information on what is known as the ISI’s S directorate, which has worked closely with militants since the days of the fight against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, the report said.

Bin Laden was killed in a May 2 raid by US special forces on a fortified compound located in Abbottabad, in the north of Pakistan.

Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants have vowed to avenge his killing, declaring him a "martyr" and calling on Muslims to rise up against the United States.

"It’s hard to believe that Kayani and Pasha actually knew that bin Laden was there," a senior administration official said, referring to Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the ISI director-general, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha. But "there are degrees of knowing, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we find out that someone close to Pasha knew."

Pakistani investigators involved in piecing together Bin Laden’s life during the past nine years said this week that he had been living in Pakistan’s urban centers longer than previously believed," the paper said

Two Pakistani officials say that bin Laden’s Yemeni wife, one of three wives now in Pakistani custody, told investigators that before moving in 2005 to the mansion in Abbottabad where he was eventually killed, bin Laden had lived with his family for nearly two and a half years in a small village, Chak Shah Mohammad, a little more than a mile southeast of the town of Haripur, on the main Abbottabad highway, The Times said.

One of the officials said this means that bin Laden left Pakistan’s rugged tribal region sometime in 2003 and had been living in northern urban regions since then, the report noted.

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