Osama `protected` by Pakistani security: WikiLeaks

In December 2009, the government of Tajikistan had warned the US that efforts to catch Bin Laden were being thwarted by corrupt Pakistani spies.

Updated: May 04, 2011, 00:26 AM IST

London: American diplomats were told that
one of the key reasons why they had failed to find Osama bin
Laden for years was that Pakistan’s security services tipped
him off whenever US troops approached, according to claims
made in leaked US government documents obtained by WikiLeaks.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate
(ISID) also allegedly smuggled al Qaeda terrorists through
airport security to help them avoid capture and sent a unit
into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, the WikiLeaks
cables obtained by Britain`s `Daily Telegraph` show.

The claims, the daily said, will add to questions over
Pakistan’s capacity to fight the dreaded terror outfit
al-Qaeda.

In December 2009, the government of Tajikistan warned
the US that efforts to catch bin Laden were being thwarted by
corrupt Pakistani spies.

According to a US diplomatic dispatch, General Abdullo
Sadulloevich Nazarov, a senior Tajik counter-terrorism
official, told the Americans that "many" inside Pakistan knew
where bin Laden was.

The document stated, "In Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden
wasn’t an invisible man, and many knew his whereabouts in
North Waziristan, but whenever security forces attempted a
raid on his hideouts, the enemy received warning of their
approach from sources in the security forces."

Last year, British Prime Minister David Cameron caused a
diplomatic furore when he told Pakistan that it could not
"look both ways" on terrorism. The Pakistani government issued
a strongly-worded rebuttal.

The successful night raid on Osama in the garrison town
of Abbottabad, 120 km from Islamabad, yesterday was carried
out without the knowledge of the Pakistan government.

In addition, intelligence obtained from prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay likely made US officials reluctant to share
information with their Pakistani counterparts.

Intelligence gathered from detainees at Guantanamo Bay
may also have made the Americans wary of sharing their
operational plans with the Pakistani government, the paper
said.

One detainee, Saber Lal Melma, an Afghan whom the US
described as a probable facilitator for al-Qaeda, allegedly
worked with the ISID to help members flee Afghanistan after
the American bombing began in October 2001.

His US military Guantanamo Bay detainee file, obtained
by WikiLeaks and seen by `The Daily Telegraph`, claims he
allegedly passed the al-Qaeda Arabs to Pakistani security
forces who then smuggled them across the border into Pakistan.

He was also overheard "bragging about a time when the
ISID sent a military unit into Afghanistan, posing as
civilians to fight alongside the Taliban against US forces",
according to the file.

He also allegedly detailed ISID`s protection of
Al-Qaida members at Pakistan airports. The ISID members
diverted Al-Qaida members through unofficial channels to avoid
detection from officials in search of terrorists, the file
claims.

PTI