Washington: A powerful US lawmaker has asked Pakistan to respond immediately to the questions raised by the Obama Administration with regard to the support system that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had in that country.
"The American people, who have provided billions of
dollars of aid to the Pakistani government, deserve to know
whether elements of Pakistan`s military and intelligence
services or local officials knew of bin Laden`s location over
the five years or so he was there, and if they claim they did
not know, how that could possibly be the case," Chairman of
the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Carl Levin said.
"Just as importantly, the Pakistani people deserve
these answers, for they have suffered greatly from al Qaeda`s
violent extremism," he said in a statement.
"So it is urgent that the Pakistani government get
answers to the questions about what its military and
intelligence agencies and local officials knew, and share the
answers to those questions with the world and with their own
people, so that we can continue this fight together," he said.
Levin said with the bold decision of President Barack
Obama and with the heroism and skill of US military and
intelligence professionals, America struck a tremendous blow
not just against a single, depraved individual, but against
the hateful ideology that he espoused.
"Let there be no mistake, al Qaeda is weaker today.
Its leader is dead, and so is the myth surrounding him. The
mystique of Osama bin Laden has been punctured," he said.
"The victory over hate-inspired terrorism is not yet
complete. Our successful mission against bin Laden will no
doubt lead al Qaeda`s remaining leaders to issue calls for
retaliation. It is critical that our intelligence and military
strength continue to seek out the remnants of al Qaeda. The
threat may be diminished, but it remains," he said.
Another Senator Susan M Collins said bin Laden`s
presence in a Pakistani city raises serious questions about
the commitment of the government of Pakistan to fighting
"It defies belief that no one within Pakistan`s
military and intelligence agencies knew anything of the
whereabouts of the most infamous terrorist, even though he was
living in a massive compound less than a mile from Pakistan`s
national military academy," she said.
"Everything about the compound in the city of
Abbottabad - its huge size, the high walls topped with barbed
wire, the lack of telephone or internet service, the fact that
trash was burned on-site rather than being hauled away -
should have made it obvious that someone was hiding there,"
the Senator said.
"This is not to say that officials at the highest
levels of the Pakistani government knew bin Laden was there,
but it seems very likely that some elements within the
country`s security apparatus had to know. Pakistan has been an
inconsistent ally, and many questions must now be asked and
answered about the billions in aid that we provide to the
country," Collins said.