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Probe hints at bin Laden's support network in Pak

Investigations into materials seized from Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout is increasingly throwing up evidence that the al-Qaeda chief had a "support network" in Pakistan, which made him so confident that he did not have an escape plan, media reports said today.

world Updated: May 13, 2011 11:15 IST

Investigations into materials seized from Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout is increasingly throwing up evidence that the al-Qaeda chief had a "support network" in Pakistan, which made him so confident that he did not have an escape plan, media reports said on Friday.

The officials, familiar with the latest assessment of the raid that resulted in bin Laden's death, point out there is no apparent sign that the most wanted fugitive had a ready escape plan.

Bin Laden did not appear to have the means or make an attempt to destroy the reams and gigabytes of documents before Navy SEALs assaulted his compound, according to the sources, CNN reported.

"It looks like he became complacent," one of the officials was quoted as saying by the news network. "There is a lot more material than we expected to find here."

Bin laden had just three men with him when the US Special Forces landed in the Abbottabad compound.

"What does all that mean?" the official said.

"How could he be so comfortable living in that location for that period of time with so little security?" the official was quoted as saying.

CNN said Obama Administration has still not concluded, based on the information gained so far, that bin Laden was supported by the Pakistani Government but the al-Qaeda had enough support network inside that country.

"It could take months" to fully assess the intelligence that has been gathered and the effectiveness of bin Laden's command and control of his operatives in the field, according to another US official.

"If you are the CEO of al-Qaeda, sometimes you focus on strategy, sometimes you focus on management or personnel. Over time, he was involved in all aspects," the official told CNN, noting this is why the administration considers the compound to be bin Laden's "command and control center."

Officials, however, refuted reports that Abbottabad residence was not a retirement home for bin Laden, who was actively involved in planning of terrorist operations mainly aimed at the US.

"He had a clear and continuing interest in attacking the US," the official said.