Martung: Pakistan has identified the Kuwait-born brothers who were al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden`s main links to the outside world during his stay at Abbottabad.
Bin Laden, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on May 2 along with these two men in a top-secret US unilateral military operation in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city.
Pakistani officials told The Wall Street Journal that they had identified the brothers as Abrar and Ibrahim Said Ahmad.
Though the two were raised in Kuwait, they maintained some connections to the small, scenic village of Martung in Pakistan, the officials added.
The Ahmads`` family village- a three-hour drive from Abbottabad- is a quiet collection of mud houses scattered along a hillside, surrounded by terraced fields. Its district, Shangla, was a stronghold of Pakistan Taliban insurgents until the extremists were driven out by a military offensive in 2009, the paper said.
Most of the village`s young men have moved away to cities in search of work, residents say.
How Abrar and Ibrahim joined bin Laden is unclear, it said, adding that two of their brothers were killed fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, according to villagers.
The identification of the two men, who lived with their families in bin Laden`s Abbottabad compound, has opened new channels of inquiry for Pakistani investigators probing how the then al Qaeda chief maintained contact with his terrorist network while living cloistered for years in a Pakistani military town.
Pakistani intelligence agents last week detained more than six people from Martung, including three relatives of the Ahmads—an uncle and two brothers of Ibrahim`s wife, the paper said, adding that investigators have not established if they have any connection to al Qaeda.
Even as investigators pursue connections to the Ahmad family, Pakistani officials say the probe into who sheltered bin Laden has been widened to bring under scrutiny some former members of Pakistan`s chief spy agency and some Pakistani militant groups close to al Qaeda.