Bin Laden lived in Pakistan compound 5-6 years - US

2011-05-03 12:46

Washington – Osama bin Laden lived for the past five to six years in the compound deep inside Pakistan where the al-Qaeda leader was killed by US forces, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser said today.

Bin Laden, who was living in Afghanistan before a 2001 US-led invasion helped topple its Taliban regime, was holed up in a compound in the military garrison town of Abbottabad in Pakistan before Sunday’s operation to kill him.

“Well I think the latest information is that he was in this compound for the past five or six years and he had virtually no interaction with others outside that compound. But yet he seemed to be very active inside the compound,” White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said on the CBS Early Show programme.

“And we know that he had released videos and audios. We know that he was in contact with some senior al-Qaeda officials,” Brennan added.

“So what we’re trying to do now is to understand what he has been involved in over the past several years, exploit whatever information we were able to get at the compound and take that information and continue our efforts to destroy al-Qaeda,” Brennan added.

The fact that the al-Qaeda chief had lived in the compound for such a long time has prompted some US lawmakers to demand a review of the billions of dollars in aid the United States provides Pakistan, which is fighting a Taliban insurgency.

Brennan also said the United States was considering whether to release photographs and video taken during the raid but has not yet made a decision.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to do it in a thoughtful manner. We also want to anticipate what the reaction might be on the part of al-Qaeda or others to the release of certain information so that we can take the appropriate steps beforehand,” Brennan told CNN.

“Any other material, whether it be photos or videos or whatever else – we are looking at it and we’ll make the appropriate decisions,” Brennan said.

Asked about any computers, documents and other material seized at the compound, Brennan said the material was being reviewed by US authorities.

“What we’re most interested in is seeing if we can get any insight into any terrorist plot that might be underway so that we can take the measures to stop any type of attack planning. Secondly, we’re trying to look and see whether or not there are leads to other individuals within the organization or insights into their (al-Qaeda) capabilities,” Brennan said.

He said the United States was eager to learn from the material about the circumstances of Bin Laden’s residence in Abbottabad.

“I know the Pakistanis are interested in this – how did Bin Laden stay at that compound for the past six years or so and be undetected? What type of support did he have outside of that compound – in the Abbottabad area or more broadly within Pakistan?” Brennan said.

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