News / USA

US Asks Pakistan for Access to Bin Laden's Wives

In this May 7, 2011, photo provided by NBC News, White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon appears on NBC's 'Meet the Press' in Washington.
In this May 7, 2011, photo provided by NBC News, White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon appears on NBC's 'Meet the Press' in Washington.

The United States says it wants to question three wives of Osama bin Laden who have been in Pakistani custody since May 2, when U.S. special forces raided a Pakistani compound where they were hiding with the al-Qaida leader.

U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon on Sunday said Pakistani authorities must provide Washington with intelligence gathered from the hideout and access to the three wives of bin Laden, who was killed in the raid.

Pakistani security personnel took over the compound in Abbottabad shortly after the end of the covert U.S. operation, and detained the three women and several of bin Laden's children. He had been in hiding since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, for which al-Qaida claimed responsibility.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is due to brief his nation's parliament about the raid on Monday. His government has said it had no prior knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts and will not accept any more U.S. military incursions without Islamabad's approval.

In Washington, Pakistan's Ambassador Husain Haqqani told TV news shows that Islamabad is conducting its own investigations into how bin Laden lived undetected in the country for years.  If officials discover proof of incompetence, Haqqani promised, "Heads will roll."  He said there will be "zero tolerance" if "complicity" is discovered.

Pakistani authorities have identified one of the wives as Amal Ahmed Abdullfattah, a Yemeni national who was shot in the leg during the raid and received medical treatment for her wounds. U.S. officials say she made a threatening move against the Navy SEALs conducting the operation.

Pakistani security officials say Abdullfattah told interrogators that she and bin Laden had lived in the compound for five years and never left the building. She said that prior to living at the site, they had lived for two and a-half years in the nearby village of Chak Shah Mohammad.

Journalists flocked to the village Saturday, asking residents if they knew where bin Laden had lived. Many villagers were puzzled by the media presence and said they had never seen the terrorist leader.

Pakistani authorities say they want to repatriate bin Laden's family members to their countries of origin, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen. But it is not clear if those countries will accept the women and children.

 

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