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WikiLeaks reveal Osama shadow over Afghanistan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi may have dismissed recent assertions by US officials that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in his country, but among the tens of thousands of documents posted online recently by WikiLeaks are some that appear to indicate the opposite.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2010 23:17 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi may have dismissed recent assertions by US officials that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in his country, but among the tens of thousands of documents posted online recently by WikiLeaks are some that appear to indicate the opposite.

According to the WikiLeaks documents analysed and posted online by the Guardian newspaper, bin Laden, US intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan felt, was closely involved in managing the insurgency in that country.

One such dispatch dated August 16, 2008, marked Threat Report, puts bin Laden's location in Quetta, Pakistan.

The report is in the context of a high-level meeting in the Pakistan city where six suicide bombers received orders to conduct an operation in Afghanistan. This meeting, the report suggests, is part of a series of planning meetings that were held regularly in that city by Al Qaeda's leadership.

The report noted, "These meetings take place once every month, and there are usually about twenty people present. The place for the meeting alternates between Quetta and villages on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The top four people in these meetings are Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, Mullah Dadullah and Mullah Barader."

Mullah Omar, of course, was the spiritual leader of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that was overthrown by American forces after 9/11. He, along with bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri, are among the most wanted terrorists on the United States' list.

Other than identifying his location, this and other documents, also point towards bin Laden's involvement in the execution of terror attacks in Afghanistan against the Hamid Karzai Government.

This particular attack involved six "foreign" recruits, who were given $ 50,000 each and promised that their families would be taken care of.