Tuesday, May 3, 2011

India Insists OBL Killed in ISI Safe House

Indian media is reporting that the hideout in which Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals was an ISI safe house. The ISI is the Pakistani intelligence service.

Quoting Pakistani officials, a number of media reports state that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden could not have hidden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad (where he was killed) without the knowledge of the Pakistani military, especially its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

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.

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.[1] 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."

The Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is known to be 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-Qaeda militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Last month, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated in Islamabad that the ISI continues to support the Haqqani Network, the second largest group of militants among the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Following are excerpts from the India Today report:[2]

"A senior Pakistan military official has told India Today that it was impossible for the army to have not known that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad. This has further fuelled speculation that Osama was killed in an ISI safehouse. Bin Laden was killed in the operation late on Sunday night at a mansion in Abbottabad, 80 kilometers north of Islamabad.

A report titled "More Shame and Retribution Heading ISI's Way" and published on the Indian website rediff.com also noted that Osama bin Laden could not have lived in Abbottabad without the knowledge of the Pakistani military. Following are excerpts from the report:[3]


"Nothing in the Af-Pak region goes unnoticed by the ISI, and if bin Laden managed to play hide-and-seek with the world all this while, it was only thanks to ISI's patronage. Although the U.S. has claimed that Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, terror groups would not believe so.

"They are aware that nothing is possible unless there has been a certain degree of support from the establishment. Moreover, Osama was living in a place close to the army headquarters in Abbottabad, about 70 kilometers northeast of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. This is not a fact that would have gone unnoticed by the ISI.


In a report, a correspondent of The Times of India newspaper filed a report from Washington under the title "Hiding bin Laden: Finger of Suspicion at ISI." Following are excerpts from the report:[4]


"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-Qaeda fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.

"U.S. analysts uniformly suggested that the Pakistani security establishment's claim of a role in the operation is clearly aimed at ducking charges of its military's possible role in hiding bin Laden…

"In fact, top U.S. officials have openly suggested for months that the Pakistani military establishment was hiding bin Laden. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came closest to publicly exposing Pakistan's role last May [in 2010] when she accused some government officials there of harboring Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. 'I am not saying they are at the highest level...but I believe somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Taliban are,' Clinton said on May 10 last year, adding, 'We expect more cooperation (from Pakistan) to help us bring to justice capture or kill those who brought us 9/11.'

"Taken together with President Obama's pointed reference to President Zardari and leaving out any mention of Pakistani forces' involvement, it would seem that Washington believes that Pakistan's military intelligence establishment, including the ISI, was sheltering bin Laden. The ISI was accused as recently as last week by top U.S. military official Admiral Mike Mullen of having terrorist links, and named as a terrorist support entity by U.S. officials, according to the Guantanamo cables.

Hmmm. Yes, I believe the ISI would have sheltered Bin Laden. I doubt that the ISI was in on the operation, because the US would have feared that they would tip Bin Laden off.

For more on the Headley case (Headley was one of the planners of the Mumbai massacre; Indian media have accused the ISI of being involved in that too), go here and here and here and here and here.


Labels: Abbottabad, David Headley, ISI, Mumbai terror attacks, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan
Posted by Carl in Jerusalem

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