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Osama had support network in Pakistan, says Obama

world Updated: May 09, 2011 01:34 IST

Osama bin Laden had a "support network" in Pakistan, but it is not clear if the Pakistani government was involved, US President Barack Obama said in his first public comments on the issue.

The fact that bin Laden turned up in leafy Abbottabad, home to the Pakistani equivalent of the West Point and Sandhurst military academies, just two hours' drive north of Islamabad, has been greeted with incredulity.

"We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan," Obama told the CBS show 60 Minutes, according to excerpts of an interview released Sunday.

"But we don't know who or what that support network was. We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate and, more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."

The Pakistani government has promised a probe, but rejected charges that extremists like bin Laden are extended safe havens. "They have indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had," said Obama. "But these are questions that we're not going to be able to answer three or four days after the event. It's going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site."

Earlier, however, the US national security adviser said, "I can tell you directly that — I've not seen evidence that would tell us that the political, the military, or the intelligence leadership had foreknowledge — of bin Laden." Tom Donilon told NBC's 'Meet the Press' that bin Laden's residence for several years inside a compound in Abbottabad, 35 miles north of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, "needs to be investigated."