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Two men killed with Osama bin Laden were Pakistanis

world Updated: May 04, 2011 12:35 IST
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The two men killed with Osama bin Laden on Sunday night in Pakistan's Abbottabad have been identified as Arshad and Tariq Khan. According to media reports they both are Pakistanis. Osama bin Laden's neighbours said, the two men were some low-key businessman and were probably brothers or cousins. There are also reports that the elder among the two, Arshad, who was around 40-years-old had bought the land and built the house in which the al Qaeda chief lived.

Amid all this, no one in the US now believes that Pakistanis didn't know the world's most wanted terrorist lived a short distance from their premier military academy. US President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism chief John Brennan refused to give his country's top anti-terror ally a clean chit, despite statements emerging out of Pakistan claiming they - as a trusted partner - knew of the raid.

"We are looking right now at how he (bin Laden) was able to hold out there (in Pakistan) for so long, and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there," Brennan said at a briefing.

US lawmakers are raising questions, too. Republican senator Bob Corker has written to secretary of state Hillary Clinton, asking for details - "whether or not the Pakistanis had knowledge that he was there and did not share that knowledge". Two other senators - Republican Ted Poe and Democrat Frank Lautenberg - want further aid to Pakistan linked to its role.

There seemed no takers for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's claim that Islamabad wasn't aware of bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, 60 km from the Pakistani captial.

"Some in the US press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet, that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect facts," Zardari said in Abbottabad on Tuesday."

Bin Laden was killed with his son and his two protectors on Sunday by a team of 79 US Navy Seals in Abbottabad. Americans are convinced Pakistan knew.

Meanwhile, the US is looking into various options whether to make public the "gruesome" photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse as these pictures might inflame enemies' passions if released to prove that the al Qaeda chief's death.

"It's fair to say that it's a gruesome photograph," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked why the Obama administration was reluctant to release the pictures of the last moments of bin Laden. "Well, to be candid, there are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of this firefight, and we're making an evaluation about the need to do that because of the sensitivities involved," Carney said.

"We review this information and make this decision with the same calculation as we do so many things, which is what we're trying to accomplish and does it serve or in any way harm our interests. And that is not just domestic, but globally," he noted.