An Afghan man carries water jugs through a bazaar at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Pakistani security officials said Saturday that Osama bin Laden may have resided in the country’s northern urban areas for almost eight years before U.S. forces killed him. That information creates new pressure for President Asif Ali Zardari to explain what Pakistan’s leaders knew and when they knew it.
One of bin Laden’s wives said he lived in a village called Chak Shah Mohammad Khan for more than two years before moving to Abbottabad in 2005.
The Obama administration has demanded the names of top agents in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, trying to determine whether some of them were in contact with bin Laden in the last several years.
Pakistan receives billions of dollars in annual aid from the U.S., and was named a key ally in the war on terror. However, the ISI is said to operate as a “state within a state” and maintains a complicated relationship with the country’s executive branch. —KDG
The New York Times:
Obama administration officials have stopped short of accusing the Pakistani government—either privately or publicly—of complicity in the hiding of Bin Laden in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One senior administration official privately acknowledged that the administration sees its relationship with Pakistan as too crucial to risk a wholesale break, even if it turned out that past or present Pakistani intelligence officials did know about Bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Still, this official and others expressed deep frustration with Pakistani military and intelligence officials for their refusal over the years to identify members of the agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, who were believed to have close ties to Bin Laden. In particular, American officials have demanded information on what is known as the ISI’s S directorate, which has worked closely with militants since the days of the fight against the Soviet army in Afghanistan.