Osama files: What you really need to know

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Islamabad, March 3: The last couple of weeks have witnessed an extremely high profile trial at a court in Brooklyn in which various documents regarding the life of Osama Bin Laden just before he had died were released. A careful examination of almost all those documents would suggest that some aspects regarding the days Osama Bin Laden spent in Pakistan have not come out in the open completely.

The Abottabad Commission report probing the circumstances leading to the death of Laden and also a very telling investigation by New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall, author of the book The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan clearly suggest that the ISI in Pakistan knew everything about Bin Laden and his whereabouts.

Osama Bin Laden

Several documents relating to Osama were submitted to the Brooklyn court where Abid Naseer, a 28-year-old Pakistani who is accused of plotting to launch an attack on the New York subway system is being tried.

Pakistan had closed Osama's case in 2005:

Osama Bin Laden had entered into Pakistan in the year 2002. He had managed to sneak into Pakistan with the help of the ISI from Tora Bora in Afghanistan. He had made his escape plans in the year 2001 itself. In fact he had stayed on briefly in South Waziristan and Bajaur tribal areas in Pakistan. He moved then to the Swat Valley following which he shifted to Haripur in Pakistan where he stayed for two years with his wives, children and grand children.

It is suspected that on the advise of Paksitan he shifted to Abbottabad which is exactly 85 kilometres away from Islamabad. Out here he stayed in a custom built compound where he stayed till he was hunted down and killed on May 2011.

The Abbottabad commission found the ISI had closed the Osama Bin Laden chapter in the year 2005 which means that they were not tracking him. The commission noted about Pakistan that there was a complete collapse of governance both in the lack of intelligence and also Pakistan's response to the raid that eventually killed Bin Laden.

"This [was] nothing less than a collective and sustained dereliction of duty by the political, military and intelligence leadership of the country, " the commission further noted.

The ISI ran a special Osama desk:

According to the investigations that were conducted by Carlotta Gall, it becomes clear that the ISI despite denying any knowledge about Osama Bin Laden had in fact run a special desk.

The special desk of the ISI had been entrusted the task of handling Laden and ensuring that he was never busted. Gall suggests that the ISI was handling him as an intelligence asset. He was protected and could have been used for his influential and charismatic status.

The status that Bin Laden enjoyed was a major draw for several militans who were part of outfits fighting both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He had become a strategic asset for the ISI.

Gall also notes that after the death of Bin Laden, an official had claimed that there was evidence that the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad.

The latest claim by Asad Durrani:

The latest remarks regarding the ISI and Bin Laden were made by former ISI Chief Asad Durrani. He had said that the ISI most likely sheltered Osama Bin Laden and hoped to use him as a bargaining chip with the US to strike a deal on Afghansitan.

It was more probable that they (ISI) did know about Laden's whereabouts. I doubt the official line given by the ISIS that it was unaware of Laden's whereabouts, Durrani had also said.

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