Osama was discussing deal with Pak: Report

Last Updated: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 23:48

Washington: Osama bin Laden and his top
aides had discussed making a deal with Pakistan in which
al-Qaeda would refrain from attacking the country in exchange
for protection inside the country, US officials have said.

Documents seized from the slain al-Qaeda chief`s
Abbottabad hideout include messages between bin Laden and his
top operations chief over the past year which provide the
first suggestion that bin Laden considered Pakistan`s
government amenable to a bargain The New York Times reported
quoting unnamed US officials.

The paper said that such a bargain was to ensure the
safety of top al-Qaeda leaders.

The officials emphasised that they had found no
evidence that such a proposal, which one American official
said was in the "discussion phase," was ever raised with
Pakistani military or intelligence operatives.

But the fact that bin Laden even considered a truce
with Pakistan suggests that he thought the idea might have had
some support inside the country`s national security
establishment.

At the same time, Pakistan could argue that the
discussions provided evidence that there was no deal already
in place allowing bin Laden to hide in the sprawling compound
in Abbottabad, a middle-class town 75 miles (about 120 kms) by
road from the Pakistani capital, the daily said.

The CIA is pouring over a huge electronic database
that Navy Seal commandos seized during the raid that killed
bin Laden this month.

The new details emerged even as US Secretary of State
said there was no evidence to suggest that anyone in Pakistan
government`s highest level knew about the presence of bin
Laden living just miles from the federal capital.

The information also came at the time when American
officials said that Pakistan had granted permission for the
CIA to send a forensics team to search bin Laden`s compound.

Many American officials are skeptical that bin Laden
could have hidden for so long inside Pakistan without at least
the tacit approval of some Pakistani officials.

Top American officials said they had yet to see any
evidence of official approval from the electronic files. But
new information is being discovered about al-Qaeda`s
structure, particularly about a tier of operatives, bin Laden
corresponded with, who were in charge of the network`s daily
operations.

In particular, the documents highlight the central
role played by Atiya Abdul Rahman, the operations chief with
whom American officials said bin Laden discussed a possible
truce with Pakistan.

Rahman is a Libyan operative who came into the job
after a drone strike in 2010 killed his boss, Sheik Saeed
al-Masri.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 23:48

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