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Give access to bin Laden's 3 wives: US to Pak

world Updated: May 08, 2011 23:45 IST

PTI
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The US on Sunday demanded access from Pakistan to all non combatants, including Osama bin Laden's three wives, detained by the Pakistani authorities and additional materials recovered from the Abbottabad compound, where the slain al Qaeda chief was living for the last six years.

"We need to work with them (Pakistan) on assessing all the evidence out of that compound and all of the evidence associated with Osama bin Laden's presence there for six years. They have in their custody all the noncombatants from the compound, including three wives of Osama bin Laden. We've asked for access to those folks," the national security advisor, Tom Donilon told the ABC news in an interview. "The fact is Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad, Pakistan, for six years or so."

We need to work with them to investigate what happened and how Osama bin Laden came to this place as his home for the last six years," Donilon said.

Pakistan says it is still holding the wives and children of bin Laden for interrogation and that so far, no country has sought their extradition.

Pakistan gained custody of bin Laden's three wives and eight children on Monday after a covert special US operation killed the al Qaeda chief at his hideout in the northwestern city of Abbottabad.

Appearing on five of the six on Sunday talk shows, Donilon said so far US has no evidence which suggests that the Pakistani government knew about the presence of bin Laden at a Abbottabad compound.

"As I sit here with you, I don't have any information that would indicate foreknowledge by the political, military, or intelligence leadership in Pakistan, point one. This includes ISI.

Point two, though, is the fact that Osama bin Laden was living -- and we now know operating -- in a town 35 miles away from Islamabad in what is essentially a military town of sorts, with an important institution and other military installations.

So these questions are being raised quite aggressively in Pakistan," Donilon said.

The NSA said, the US needs to work with the Pakistanis to know how this happened and they need to know how this happened, if they weren't involved.

"That needs to be investigated, and the Pakistanis are investigating. And, indeed, this has been obviously a very big set of questions in their country about what happened and how this came about. The Pakistanis need to investigate that."

"They (Pakistanis) took additional materials. We talked to them first about the materials that we had. They had additional materials. We need access to that."

"But I would be remiss if I didn't make another point. More people have died, right, more terrorists have died and been captured on Pakistan soil than any place else in the world," he said.

They have been an essential partner of ours in the war against al Qaeda and in our efforts against terrorism. And that really can't be dismissed," Donilon said.

Donilon said America's relationship with Pakistan is an important one.

"So we need to assess this in a cool and calm way. My job as national security adviser is to do this in a way that advances our interests," he said.

Noting that Pakistan has been a very important partner in US intensified efforts against al Qaeda, Donilon at the same time said that has been differences with Pakistan at this point of time.

"It would not be a complete answer and it would not be responsible for me as a national security adviser not to point out that in fact they have been a very important partner of ours in our terror efforts, and I think we need to look at this in a calm and cool way, pursuing US interests, but pressing the Pakistanis to be as good a partner as they can on these issues," he said.