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US officials say "no evidence" Islamabad knew of bin Laden's life in Pakistan

However, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says his supposition is that “somebody knew”.

Undate file photo of the late Osama bin Laden.
Undate file photo of the late Osama bin Laden.
Image: AP Photo/File

US OFFICIALS have conceded that there is “no evidence” Pakistani government officials in Islamabad knew that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – one of America’s most wanted men – was hiding in their country.

Following the US raid on the Abbottabad compound in which bin Laden was killed earlier this month, US President Obama said he wanted Pakistani officials to launch an investigation into bin Laden’s “support network”. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gilani denied that his country played any part in helping to conceal bin Laden’s location.

In a joint press briefing by chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff Admiral Mullen and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates yesterday, Mullen said he had seen no evidence “since the bin Laden raid that indicated that the top leadership [of Pakistan] knew bin Laden was there”.

When pressed for his views, Gates said that he thought someone knew bin Laden was there:

I guess the way I would put it is, first of all, I would echo exactly what the chairman said.  I have seen no evidence at all that the senior leadership knew.  In fact, I’ve seen some evidence to the contrary.  But – and we have no evidence yet with respect to anybody else.  My supposition is:  Somebody knew.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has released a message from bin Laden praised the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia calling on Muslims not to miss the opportunity to rise up. The AFP reports that the message posted yesterday urges Muslims to use this “rare historic opportunity” to strike at the right time and “increase the number of casualties”.

Bin Laden’s message did not refer to the ongoing revolutions in Syria, Libya or Yemen.

Read: Pakistan’s Taliban vows to continue bin Laden’s war against the West >

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