Come clean on Osama links: US Senator to Pak
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 11:40
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 terrorism.

"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.


First Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 11:40

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