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Pakistan grants US access to bin Laden widows

The US believes that these women could possibly throw more light on aspects of Osama`s life.



Washington: Pakistan has agreed to grant
US access to the three widows of Osama bin Laden, who were
detained soon after the killing of the al-Qaeda chief in his
Abbottabad hideout last week, media reports said Tuesday.

The US investigating agencies would be given "direct
access" to the three widows of bin Laden, meaning the US
government agents will be able to interview them, and not just
submit questions, CBS news reported.

With this, Islamabad has met one of the major demands
of the Obama Administration.

"A United States official said that American
investigators would soon be allowed to interview bin Laden`s
three widows, now being held by Pakistani authorities," The
New York Times reported.

While there was no official confirmation of this news
from the White House, CNN said Pakistan will allow the US to
question or take into custody the apparent wives of bin Laden
only if their "country of origin has been asked for
permission," according to a senior Pakistani intelligence
source.

Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay
Carney said the US is in consultation with the Pakistani
government at many levels about access to bin Laden`s wives,
and some of the other materials that may have been collected
by the Pakistanis after the US commando team left.

"We will continue those conversations. We believe that
it is very important to maintain the cooperative relationship
with Pakistan precisely because it`s in our national security
interest to do so," he said.

In another news report, The New York Times said, CIA
Director Leon Panetta would soon meet ISI Chief Lt Gen Ahmad
Shuja Pasha "to discuss the way forward in the common fight
against al-Qaeda."

On Sunday, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, called Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani as part of the continued dialogue.

That`s the highest level of contact between the two
countries after US President Barack Obama called his Pakistani
counterpart Asif Ali Zardari to inform him that Osama bin
Laden has been killed in a covert US operation.

Both the Pentagon and the State Department confirmed
on Monday that neither Defense Secretary Robert gates nor
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made any telephone
calls to the Pakistani leadership after the last week`s
incident of killing bin Laden.

PTI

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