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'Elements within ISI, Pak Army provided support to bin Laden'

There are elements within the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani Army who provided support to Osama bin Laden, a top American lawmaker on Sunday said.

world Updated: May 23, 2011 03:00 IST

There are elements within the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani Army who provided support to Osama bin Laden, a top American lawmaker on Sunday said.

Congressman Mike Rogers, who has access to classified US information on bin Laden case, however, said there is no evidence so far which indicates that the top leadership of either of these two Pakistani organisations were aware of the presence of bin Laden in Abbottabad.

"But I believe, and I think many believe that there were elements within those organisations that may have provided them safety and at least logistical support to some degree," Rogers, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told the CNN in an interview.

Another US lawmaker Dutch Ruppersberger said, "But there's one issue that's important to show where the relationship might be going. Right after we brought bin Laden to justice, the Pakistanis had a raid and they were able to arrest one of the top al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan. That was about two or three days after we brought bin laden to justice."

Both the top US lawmakers, however, argued that this is not the right time to cut off all relationship with Pakistan as such a step would not serve the purpose.

"I would be very careful about just pulling the plug. It makes great domestic politics but I will tell you there are some very real consequences. I argue continue to build on the relationships that we have and continue to work on the Pakistanis this should be the one embarrassing moment that maybe you become more transparent and more helpful than you had been," Rogers said.

"I'm saying we wouldn't shouldn't slow down aid. We should start holding back a little money and improve our negotiation position in Pakistan, but I don't think we should cut it off. We have a lot of questions we need answered.

"But I wouldn't just go in with the suggestion that you're an enemy of the United States, we're going to cut you off completely. I think that would be pretty harmful to our long-term national security interests," he argued.

Ruppersberger said, "First thing we need to see what is in the best interests of our country especially while we're in Afghanistan, with our men and women in the military.

"The second issue that we have to deal with, did they hide bin Laden? It's one of two areas, either they were incompetent as you mentioned or secondly they were complicit. And we have to continue to investigate that issue. But we do need them as long as we're in Afghanistan."

"Another issue, which is extremely important is that they have nuclear weapons. And if Pakistan goes very radical, jihad type of government that can put the whole region at risk and the United States, because they have travel areas where they can train. So I think that we have to be wise in our decision here," Ruppersberger noted.

"But I think it is a time to reset our relationship with Pakistan. They haven't been cooperating in the last couple of months as we would like them to do as it deals with the issue of terrorism.

"I think by the fact that they are in a bad way, either they were complicity or they were incompetent and either one isn't good for them. And this is the time to reset the relationship," he said.

First Published: May 23, 2011 02:59 IST