Osama was sidelined by Zawahiri in al Qaeda: Pak officials
Slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had been sidelined by his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri in the terror outfit which was also divided over financial matters, Pakistani military officials have claimed. Osama bin Laden: His life and deathworld Updated: May 06, 2011 22:11 IST
Slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had been sidelined by his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri in the terror outfit which was also divided over financial matters, Pakistani military officials have claimed.
The unnamed military officials made the claim during a background briefing for Pakistani reporters on Thursday, BBC Urdu said.
The officials did not give details of the purported split between the two top al Qaeda leaders.
The military officials also briefed the media on revelations made by bin Laden's family, including his three wives and 13 children who are in the custody of Pakistani authorities.
The al Qaeda chief was killed along with four others when US special forces carried out a daring pre-dawn raid on a compound near the Pakistan Military Academy in the garrison city of Abbottabad on Monday.
Bin Laden's Yemeni wife, identified in some media reports as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fattah, has told investigators that she had not gone out of her room for five years and that her husband too stayed in the compound during the same period.
The Yemeni wife, who was hit by a bullet in her leg, said bin Laden was alive till she lost consciousness.
A daughter of bin Laden confirmed that her father was shot dead in front of her.
The military officials told the media that the US should have informed Pakistan about the raid on bin Laden's compound and there should have been bilateral cooperation.
"The US should have done what we had done when (Afghan Taliban leader) Mullah Baradar was arrested," one official was quoted as saying.
Mullah Baradar, the number two in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, was arrested near Karachi in a joint Pakistan-US operation in February last year.
The officials said Indonesian al Qaeda leader Umar Patek, a suspect in the Bali bombings who was recently arrested in Abbottabad, had provided useful information but had no links with bin Laden.
The officials said the Pakistani military was not aware of the covert US operation against bin Laden and that the entry of American helicopters into Pakistani airspace was not detected because the US knew the location of radars and had terrain maps, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The helicopters avoided radars by flying low and using the mountains, the report said.
If the US had jammed Pakistani radars, the military "would have noticed," it added.
The officials said they had told the CIA in April that suspicious phone calls had been intercepted, which could be traced to the compound in Abbottabad. However, at no point did they realise that bin Laden was present there, they claimed.
"If we had known, we would have gone after him ourselves," an intelligence official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
A military official said while the trust deficit between the CIA and ISI may have contributed to Pakistan being kept out of the loop in the raid, he believed the CIA wanted to take all the credit and not share it with the ISI.
Several media reports quoted the officials as saying that an inquiry had been ordered within the ISI to ascertain how bin Laden had managed to hide in Abbottabad.
The officials said Pakistani intelligence officials are badly outnumbered by foreign intelligence officials.
One official pointed out that President Asif Ali Zardari had authorised the Pakistani embassy in Washington to issue visas.
"Over 7,000 visas were issued without the ISI's clearance. Many of them were issued to personnel of the Regional Affairs Office (RAO), which is responsible for disbursement of Kerry-Lugar (aid) funds," he said, implying that the RAO could be a cover for American intelligence.