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Pakistani military launches bin Laden probe
Military to investigate intelligence failings amid claims bin Laden may have been living in the country for five years.
Last Modified: 05 May 2011 11:50



Pakistan's military has launched an investigation into how Osama bin Laden was able to live in the country undetected - for up to five years, according to one of the al-Qaeda leader's wives.

Pakistan has denied any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts and the army said on Thursday it would conduct an investigation into failures by its intelligence to detect the world's most wanted man on its own soil.

The army also threatened to reconsider its anti-terrorism cooperation with the United States if Washington carried out another unilateral attack like the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"COAS made it clear that any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the United States," the army said in a statement, referring to the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani.

Pakistan has been under international pressure to explain why the al-Qaeda chief was able to hide in a compound in a hill town near its capital.

One of bin Laden's wives told intelligence officials that he'd been living in Pakistan for the past five years, the BBC reported on Thursday, quoting a Pakistani military official.

The woman, one of three of bin Laden's wives held after the raid, said she had lived in one room for that entire period, the BBC reported.

The official said 13 children had also been recovered from the compound.

No 'definitive evidence'

A senior Pentagon official said on Thursday that the U.S. so far had no "definitive evidence" that Pakistan knew of bin Laden's hideout.

But Michele Flournoy, defense secretary Robert Gates' top policy aide, said Islamabad must now demonstrate, visibly and convincingly, their commitment to defeating al-Qaeda.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said earlier on Thursday that the raid by US commandos was an "unauthorised unilateral action", conducted without the Pakistani government's knowledge.

Salman Bashir, Pakistan's foreign minister, warned the US and other countries against future raids in the country on suspected fighters, warning that such actions would have "disastrous consequences".

"We feel that that sort of misadventure or miscalculation would result in a terrible catastrophe," he said in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

"There should be no doubt Pakistan has adequate capacity to ensure its own defence."

Out of the loop

The CIA said it kept Pakistan out of the loop because it feared bin Laden would be tipped off, highlighting the depth of mistrust between the two supposed allies.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said it would stand by Pakistan despite the strain put on the relationship by the discovery of bin Laden so close to the Pakistani capital.

"It is not always an easy relationship, you know that," she said in Rome, the Italian capital, on Thursday.

"But, on the other hand, it is a productive one for both our countries and we are going to continue to cooperate between our governments, our militaries, our law-enforcement agencies, but most importantly between the American and Pakistani people."

She also said the US and its allies must continue working with Pakistan to fight al-Qaeda in that country and Afghanistan.

US special forces launched the Monday morning raid with helicopter-borne soldiers attacking a compound in Abbottabad, north of Islamabad. Four other people were also killed in the raid.

Source:
Agencies
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