US says no evidence Osama bin Laden had support network in Pakistan

WASHINGTON, March 31 : The United States has found no credible evidence to believe that slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had a broader network of support during his hiding in Pakistan, the State Department said.

Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson at the State Department told reporters the Pakistani government had not lied to the United States on bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid May last year in his Abbottabad hideout.

“Immediately after the Abbottabad raid, we asked the Pakistani Government the question of whether there was a larger network at play here or there was some kind of network of support, I guess, for bin Ladin when he was there. We have not received any information that indicates that there was such a network of support there.” Toner said.

He was responding to a question premised on reported claims by a wife of Osama bin Laden that the al-Qaeda chief had been hiding at different locations inside Pakistan after fleeing U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which was triggered by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Questioned if over the years Islamabad had been consistently lying to the United States on bin Laden, Toner replied firmly, “I don’t believe so.”
“Again, we haven’t received any indications that indicate that there was some broader network, no,” he added, when pressed on the issue.

On U.S-Pakistan relations, the spokesman said Washington is awaiting the results of the parliamentary review underway in Islamabad and would be prepared to discuss some of the issues Pakistan’s democratic debate would raise.

Toner would not comment on the latest U.S. drone attack against militant targets on the Pakistani tribal border territory, an issue which is likely to be a major point of deliberation in the parliamentary review on the future course of bilateral ties, which suffered a series of setbacks last year.

“We continue to await the results of the parliamentary review. That’s still ongoing. But I think that in terms of our relations, we continue to have engagement at all levels within the Pakistani Government. And we certainly respect the review process that’s underway and we look forward to the results, and then we’ll be willing to discuss some of the issues raised by that.”

The parliamentary review is taking place in the aftermath of November 26, 2011 attack on Pakistani checkposts by NATO warplanes, which claimed lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border

Sourc : MGCT,  Department of State, By Ali Imran

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