The Pakistani government most likely knew about Osama bin Laden’s hideout only a short drive from Islamabad, according to media reports in the region that even include the allegation it was a government “safehouse” where the terrorist was living when a team of Navy Seals confronted and killed him over the weekend.
The report comes from the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and reports on media in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
“Nothing in the Af-Pak [Afghanistan-Pakistan] region goes unnoticed by the ISI [Pakistani government Inter-Services Intelligence agency], and if bin Laden managed to play hide-and-seek with the world all this while, it was only thanks to ISI’s patronage,” the report quoted the Indian website rediff.com stating.
“Although the U.S. has claimed that Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, terror groups would not believe so,” it continued.
The MEMRI analysis said the media is reporting that the al-Qaida chief could not have hidden in Abbottabad without high officials in the Pakistani military being aware.
“The website of the leading Indian weekly magazine India Today published a report from its Pakistan correspondent titled ‘Osama Dead: Pak May Have Known About His Presence in Abbottabad.’ The report noted growing speculation that Osama bin Laden was killed at a safehouse operated by the ISI. Two more reports were published by the websites rediff.com and timesofindia.com that indicated that the ISI knew bin Laden’s whereabouts,” the organization said.
“It should be noted that the website of the Urdu-language Pakistani daily Roznama Jang reported earlier today that Pakistani army forces did not participate in the operation to kill bin Laden. The report quoted a statement of the Pakistani Foreign Office as confirming that Osama bin Laden was killed in the operation but the ‘Pakistani security forces did not take part in the operation.'”
MEMRI described the ISI as “the most powerful player in Pakistan, virtually dictating Pakistan’s foreign relations with Afghanistan, India, and the United States. It has been known over the past several decades for its support to the Taliban and al-Qaida militants.”
It was just a month ago when Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the ISI also supports the radical Haqqani Network, the second largest group of militants among the Taliban in Afghanistan, the report said.
India Today said, “A senior Pakistan military official has told India Today that it was impossible for the army to have not known that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad. This has further fueled speculation that Osama was killed in an ISI safehouse.”
At rediff.com was the report, “Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] is bound to be cornered in the days to come following the killing of dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden. … A source in the intelligence agency says that Osama’s death will no doubt put the ISI in a very uncomfortable position among the Al-Qaeda, Haqqani Network, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, who now feel betrayed by the agency.”
In The Times of India, it reported, “The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before U.S. forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.”
It continued, “While U.S. officials are tight-lipped about precise details, analysts are trying to figure out whether the compound that sheltered bin Laden was an ISI safehouse.”
The U.S. has speculated for years that bin Laden fled to Pakistan after the U.S. moved into Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attacks.