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Pak Army Major among those paid by CIA to spy on Osama's hideout: Report

June 16, 2011 - Islamabad /Washington

Major Amir Aziz, a doctor in the Pakistan Army's medical corps and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's neighbour for years, is among those arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on charges of gathering intelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Major Aziz, who lived next to the bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad for several years, has not been seen since shortly after the United States' unilateral military raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, The Washington Post reports.

Officials said that Major Aziz was among several Pakistanis paid to keep track of and photograph those entering and leaving the compound, without being told whom they were looking for, the report said.

"Their families don't have any idea where they have been taken," said one neighbour in Abbottabad's Bilal Town subdivision. "Nobody knows what they had done."

A US official said that the CIA tried to get Major Aziz and other informants out of harm's way before their arrests, offering to relocate them.

But they refused and "thought they would be okay," added the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

The New York Times had also earlier reported that the CIA informants arrested by Pakistan for supplying information to the CIA about bin Laden included a Pakistani Army major, who US officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting bin Laden's Abbottabad compound in the weeks before the raid.

The Pakistan military, however, strongly dismissed that report, saying that none of its officers has been arrested.

"The Spokesman of ISPR has strongly refuted a news item published in a section of press in which it is claimed that an Army officer (Major) is included in detained persons regarding Abbotabad incident. There is no army officer detained and the story is false and totally baseless, Spokesman concluded," the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Wednesday.


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