ISI knew where Laden lived: book

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2011, 08:46 AM IST

Washington: The officials of Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence were aware of Osama Bin Laden`s hideout in Abbottabad, not only this, they also provided protection and safe houses to his then deputy and now the top al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to a new book.

The ISI officials periodically checked on Laden also, this sensational disclosure has been by Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEALs, in his latest book "Seal Target Geronimo" that hit the stands here today.

Pfarrer says his account in the book, that gives a blow by blow account of the killing of bin Laden in a surprise US raid in Abbottabad on May 2, is based on his interviews and interaction with members of the SEALs team that killed Bin Laden and the US military and Obama Administration officials.

All the sources have been kept anonymous.

Notably officials of the Obama Administration, Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have so far maintained that they haven`t obtained any evidence which indicates about the ISI knowledge of the whereabouts of bin Laden or providing support infrastructure to him.

"The ISI knew exactly where he was, but did not inform the US. They continued to let Osama pace back and forth in his compound," Pfarrer wrote in his 225-page book published by New York-based St Martin`s Press.

Giving an insight into the last few months of bin Laden`s life, Pfarrer wrote that he became increasingly reclusive and seldom left the main building, unless it was to put on a set of golden-threaded robes and have one of his aides film him as he tried to read pronouncements to be aired on Al Jazeera or released on al Qaeda`s web sites.

"Osama collected designs for truck bombs and attack plans for London, Washington, New York, Paris and Rome. He received couriers from Zawahiri and al-Libbi, and officers from Pakistan`s ISI who periodically checked on him, but for the most part, his Pakistani hosts let him alone," Pfarrer said.

Describing Zawahiri as an intelligent and cunning man, Pfarrer said after Tora Bora, he came under protection of ISI.

"After the debacle at Tora Bora, Zawahiri needed to do something to prove that al Qaeda was still in business, even though its two emirs were in hiding. US drone strikes and special operations took out dozens of al Qaeda leaders, including Osama`s brother-in-law, al Qaeda`s chief financial officer, and several senior operational planners, he wrote.

"During this period, Zawahiri moved frequently. He had good reason to be wary. The US had posted a USD 25 million reward for Zawahiri`s capture. Though much is made of Pashtun hospitality, Ayman Zawahiri didn`t trust his life to the quaint cultural obligations of a tribal people. He soon fled into Pakistan, and through connections with the political
party Jamaat-e-Islami, he, too, came under the protection of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI," Pfarrer writes.

A few page later, Pfarrer again writes that Zawahiri has been provided shelter by the ISI.

"Zawahiri had also been given protection by the Pakistani intelligence service. Like Osama, he lived under the radar, moving between safe houses in the tribal areas of Baluchistan close to the Iranian border," he wrote.

"Moving between his own ISI-provided safe houses, Zawahiri had his messages delivered in Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti`s fantastically painted four-wheel drive truck," said Pfarrer in his book.

PTI

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