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Answers needed from Pakistan on Osama's presence in country

April 4, 2012 - Washington

The Pakistan Government has been avoiding giving answers as how Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived in five houses in Pakistan, fathered four children there, kept three wives who took dictation for his rambling directives to his terror network and had two children born in public hospitals.

According to the Washington Post, it is simply inexplicable to believe that authorities in Islamabad were absolutely clueless about these developments, and therefore, the latter needs to give answers to at least five questions about the jihadist network that surrounded bin Laden and his accomplices during their nearly decade-long sojourn in the country.

The questions are as follows:

How did bin Laden come to settle in Abbottabad? His youngest wife, Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, describes his movements in an Islamabad police report. She says that "everything was arranged by" two men she called "Ibrahim" and "Abrar" who shared their safe houses in the Swat Valley, Haripur and, finally, Abbottabad.

What did the Pakistani authorities know about these Pashtun brothers? U.S. officials believe that one of them, known as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, was bin Laden's key courier.

What role was played by Brigadier Ijaz Shah? According to comments by Gen. Ziauddin Butt, a former ISI chief, Shah arranged the al-Qaeda leader's 2005 move to Abbottabad. At the time, Shah, a retired ISI officer, was running another spy agency, the Intelligence Bureau, for his patron, President Pervez Musharraf.

Shah's name had surfaced in February 2002 as the alleged handler of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who claimed a role in kidnapping Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It turned out that Pearl had been handed over to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the al-Qaeda mastermind, who beheaded him. Some Pakistanis argue that Sheikh was part of a jihadist organization, Harkat ul-Mujaheddin,that had close ties to Shah and the ISI. What does the ISI say?

And where was the notorious KSM hiding out when he was captured in March 2003? He was at a Rawalpindi safe house linked to Ahmed Abdul Qudoos Khan, who is described in press reports as a member of Pakistan's oldest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Pakistani analysts say this group, too, has long had quiet links with the ISI and the military.

How about Abu Zubaida, the al-Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan in March 2002? He was seized in Faisalabad at what was described in press reports as a safe house for the Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba, which is also alleged to have close links with the ISI. The ISI is said to have joined in his capture, but did they have advance word he was there?

What about the Pakistani sojourn of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian al-Qaeda operative involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa? He was captured in July 2004 in the eastern city of Gujrat, far from the tribal areas. How did he get there? And what about Ramzi Binalshibh, a facilitator of the 9/11 attacks who was captured in September 2002 in Karachi. How did he make his way undetected to Pakistan's commercial capital?


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