ONE of three wives living with Osama bin Laden told Pakistani interrogators she had been staying in the al-Qaida chief’s hideout for six years, and could be a key source of information about how he avoided capture for so long, a Pakistani intelligence official said.
Bin Laden’s wife, identified as Yemeni-born Amal Ahmed Abdullfattah, said she never left the upper floors of the house the entire time she was there.
She and bin Laden’s other two wives are being interrogated in Pakistan after they were taken into custody following the American raid on bin Laden’s compound in the town of Abbottabad. Pakistani authorities are also holding eight or nine children who were found there after the US commandos left.
Given shifting and incomplete accounts from US officials about what happened during the raid, testimony from bin Laden’s wives may be significant in unveiling details about the operation.
Their accounts will also help show how bin Laden spent his time and managed to stay hidden.
A Pakistani official said CIA officers had not been given access to the women in custody. US-Pakastani relations have further strained after the raid, which many Pakistanis see as a violation of their country’s sovereignty.
The proximity of bin Laden’s hideout to the military garrison and the Pakistani capital also has raised suspicions in the US that Pakistan’s security forces were protecting bin Laden
Risking more tensions, missiles fired from a US drone killed 15 people, including foreign militants, in North Waziristan, an al-Qaida and Taliban hot- spot close to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said. Such attacks were routine last year, but they are less frequency this year amid opposition by the Pakistan security establishment.
Pakistan’s army has threatened to review cooperation with Washington if it stages anymore attacks like the raid on bin Laden.
The Pakistani intelligence official did not say if bin Laden’s Yemeni wife said he was also living there since 2006. “We are still getting information from them,” he said.
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