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Osama had "support network" in Pakistan: US

Osama had "support network" in Pakistan: US

May 09, 2011 - 14:39

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): US President Barack Obama has called on Pakistaninfo-icon to investigate the network that sustained Osama Bin Laden in his hideout in the town of Abbottabad, where he was killed last week.

Islamabad had to find out if any of its officials knew of the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts, Obama told CBS show in an interview being broadcast on Sunday.

The US President told the 60 minutes show CBS that the al-Qaeda leader must have had “some sort of support network” in Pakistan, but he did not know whether it included government officials.

“We don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of [Pakistan's] government, people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate and, more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate,” Obama said in the interview, which was conducted on Wednesday.

An Obama administration official said the US wanted to speak to Bin Laden’s widows, who are in Pakistani custody. Pakistan has denied knowing Bin Laden was holed up in Abbottabad.

With Bin Laden dead, there has been speculation about whether his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, will take over as al-Qaeda leader.

On Saturday, the Pentagon released from the material five home videos featuring Bin Laden, with the audio removed.

They included a message by the al-Qaeda leader to the US and footage of Bin Laden watching an item about himself on TV.

US officials said the Abbottabad compound, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was a command and control centre from where Bin Laden had actively led al-Qaeda.

Many in Abbottabad say they do not believe the videos are real

There have been suspicions that someone in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISIinfo-icon) spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have known where Bin Laden was hiding. But Pakistan has dismissed such suggestions.

Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney waded into the debate on Sunday, saying the US was “headed for trouble down the road” if it turned its back on the region.

In an interview with Fox News, Cheney said: “I think we need to maintain relationships, working relationships, with Pakistan, Afghanistaninfo-icon and the rest of them. I don’t think we need to run for the exits.”

Meanwhile, a senior United Nations official called on the White House to disclose what orders were given to the US Navy Seals who went into the al-Qaeda chief’s compound.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Christof Heyns told the BBC the killing could set a precedent for any country to cross borders and pursue enemies “where there is in practical terms no option to capture”.

“And are we not then on a slippery slope to say that the worldinfo-icon is a battlefield?” he said, on The World This Weekend programme.



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