Friday 30 September 2016

Osama Bin Laden’s hideout ‘was known to Pakistani leadership before his death', claims former Defence Minister

Ishaan Tharoor

Published 14/10/2015 | 22:29

Osama bin Laden watching television at his compound in Abbottabad. Photo: Getty Images
Osama bin Laden watching television at his compound in Abbottabad. Photo: Getty Images

Military and civilian leaders in Pakistan knew the location of Osama bin Laden’s compound before his death, a former Pakistani Defence Minister has claimed.

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Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, who was the minister between 2008 and 2012, told the Indian TV station CNN-IBN that the Pakistani military knew Bin Laden was in the country at the time of his death in 2011. The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US raid on Abbottabad.

It has been an open secret that elements within Pakistan’s military and political establishment must have been aware of Bin Laden’s location, perhaps even helping him to safe haven in the years after the United States launched its invasion of Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, General Asad Durrani, a former spy chief, said it was “probable” that the country’s main military intelligence organisation knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts and was possibly keeping him as leverage for future dealings with Washington.

Mr Mukhtar was asked: “So President [Asif Ali] Zardari, you are saying knew about it, General [Ashfaq] Kayani, the then army chief, had information about it and there were people both in the civilian and military chain of command who had prior information about Osama?” Mr Mukhtar replied: “Yeah.” 

Independent News Service

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