WASHINGTON: Nearly a year after Osama bin Laden was killed in his Abbottabad home, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claims it helped US locate the Al Qaeda chief's high-walled hideout.
Osama was shot dead May 2 last year at his Abbottabad house by US commandos, straining ties between Washington and Islamabad. "The lead and the information actually came from us," a senior ISI official told the Washington Post. Washington is sceptical about the ISI claim.
After US stealth choppers flew in to Osama's hideout, Pakistani military said it knew nothing about his six-year presence in the garrison town. On Friday, two ISI officials spoke to the daily.
One noted that the ISI's new head, Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul-Islam, is taking a "proactive" approach to public relations to improve the international image of spy service. "Any hit on Al Qaeda anywhere in the world has happened with our help," the official was quoted as saying.
The second official said the ISI provided the CIA with a cellphone number that eventually led to an Al Qaeda courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. The officials maintained that in November 2010 they gave the number to the CIA, along with information that it was last detected in Abbottabad, the media report said.
They claimed that they didn't know the number was of an Al Qaeda courier. The CIA analysts, however did and yet didn't relay that information back to the Pakistanis. "They knew who the number belonged to," the official said. The other official described it as a "story of an extreme trust deficit and betrayal".