‘Abbottabad docs do not reflect institutional support`

There were no explicit references to any institutional Pakistani support to the al Qaeda chief in a series of documents released so far by the US, a report said.

Washington: While there were references about "trusted Pakistani brothers" in Osama bin Laden`s notes to his aides, there were no explicit references to any institutional Pakistani support to the al Qaeda chief in a series of documents released so far by the US, a report said on Thursday.

The Combating Terrorism Centre (CTS) academy at West Point, which released some of these documents seized from the safe house of bin Laden in Abbottabad, said today that Osama and his family did not seem to have much freedom of movement.

There are also indications that bin Laden did not have a very good relationship with the Pakistani intelligence community, the CTC West Point said in its report.

However, it cautioned that this analysis is based on the only some of the documents that have been given to it by the US Government, which is believed to have seized a treasure trove of information from last year`s Abbottabad raid.

"Unlike the explicit and relatively substantive references to the Iranian regime, the documents do not have such references about Pakistan".

Although there are notes about "trusted Pakistani brothers," there are no explicit references to any institutional Pakistani support, CTC West Point said.

"The one instance Pakistani intelligence is mentioned is not in a supporting role: in the course of giving detailed instructions about the passage his released family from Iran should take, bin Laden cautioned `Atiyya to be most careful about their movements lest they be followed`.

"More precisely, he remarked that `if the (Pakistani) intelligence commander in the region is very alert, he would assume that they are heading to my location and he would monitor them until they reach their destination," it said.

"This reference does not suggest that bin Ladin was on good terms with the Pakistani intelligence community. Another reference worth highlighting in this regard, is that bin Laden did not appear to enjoy freedom of movement with his family," the report said.

In his long list of security measures to be followed by the "brothers" to evade the eyes of the authorities, he wrote to Atiyya that it is most important not to allow children to leave the house except in emergency situations.

"For nine years prior to his death, Osama bin Laden proudly told Atiyya that he and his family adhered to such strict measures, precluding his children from playing outdoors without the supervision of an adult who could keep their voices down. Bin Laden, it was said, could run but he could not hide.

"He seems to have done very little running and quite a lot of hiding," CTC West Point said.

Rather than outright protection or assistance from states
such as Iran or Pakistan, bin Laden’s guidance suggests that the group`s leaders survived for as long as they did due to their own caution and operational security protocols, it said.

While the release of new documents may necessitate a re-evaluation of al-Qaeda`s relations to Iran and Pakistan, the documents for now make it clear that al Qaeda`s ties to Iran were the unpleasant by-product of necessity, fuelled by mutual distrust and antagonism, it said.

"The limited discussion of the Pakistani military does not lend itself to any final determination on ties between bin Laden and the Pakistani state or actors within it, but bin Laden’s emphasis on security precautions suggests that fear and suspicion dominated his calculations," the CTC West Point said in its report running into 64 pages.