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Did ISI protect Qaeda leader?

US and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to Osama bin Laden to stay hidden in Pakistan, a media report said.

world Updated: May 06, 2011 01:13 IST

US and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to Osama bin Laden to stay hidden in Pakistan, a media report said.

Similar elements linked to the ISI have aided other Pakistan-based terror groups, the Haqqani militant network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

"There's no doubt he was protected by some in the ISI," a high-level European military-intelligence official was quoted as saying.,

The officials, who have direct working knowledge of Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, were cited as saying they believe these ISI elements include some current and former intelligence and military operatives with long-standing ties to al Qaeda and other militant groups, the Journal said.

ISI denies accusation
Accusations that Pakistan's intelligence agency colludes with al Qaeda are false and cannot be substantiated, the top official at Islamabad's foreign ministry said Thursday.

"It cannot be validated on any account and it flies in the face of what Pakistanis and in particular the Inter-Services Intelligence has been able to accomplish," Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir said in a news conference.