Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has said that Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency provided information to the CIA which helped the United States (US) track down and kill Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden, founder and first leader of militant group Al-Qaeda, was killed in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, by US Navy SEALs. Islamabad had so far denied having any knowledge of the terror chief’s hideout until he was shot dead.
However, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier following his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Monday, the premier said it was the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that gave the initial information on bin Laden.
“It was ISI that gave the information which led to the location of Osama bin Laden. If you ask CIA, it was ISI which gave the initial location through the phone connection,” he said.
“We in Pakistan always felt that we were an ally of the US and if we had been given the information about Osama, we should have taken him out,” he said, adding that Pakistan was fighting the war against terrorism for the US.
“Here we were an ally of the US and the US did not trust us. And they actually came and bombed and killed a man in our territory,” he said.
Even though Pakistan officially denied knowing that bin Laden was living within its territory, ex-ISI chief Asad Durrani told Al Jazeera in 2015 that the agency probably knew where he was hiding.
The 9/11 mastermind was tracked down after a 10-year manhunt to Abbottabad, a garrison town north of Islamabad where Pakistan’s military academy is headquartered, sparking allegations authorities were colluding with the terror group.
Two former senior Pakistani military officials told AFP in 2015 that a defector from Pakistani intelligence assisted the US in its hunt for bin Laden, but denied that Islamabad and Washington had officially worked together.