The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has found nothing in a treasure trove of documents recovered during the 2011 Abbottabad indicating that Osama bin Laden had support from the security establishment to hide in Pakistan.
In May 2011, the al Qaeda chief was killed in a secret raid by the US special forces at a compound near Pakistani Military Academy in Abbottabad.
The raid strained relations between Islamabad and Washington and had triggered intense speculation that America’s most wanted terrorist had support from elements in the Pakistani security establishment.
Some of the documents recovered from Bin Laden compound were released by the CIA which revealed a lot of new information about the shadowy terrorist group.
There is a lot of interest in whether the newly released documents contain details about the people who were helping or supporting the ‘most wanted man in the world’ while he was residing in the country.
Pakistan’s role has always been scrutinised by world powers, particularly by American, accusing the country of sponsoring militant groups and provide safe shelter to them.
The Trump administration has increased pressure on Pakistan to “do more” against terrorists and has repeatedly asked the government to not provide safe havens to terror groups. A claim that Islamabad has vehemently denied.
Al qaeda has actively helped anti-state terrorist groups inside Pakistan wage a war on its government and citizens from across the border in Afghanistan, and some newly released files decry Pakistan’s betrayal of the militants after the terrorist attacks of September 11, and supposedly point the incident as the turning point in the relationship between the two.
Despite intense speculations, there is little evidence to lend credence to the claims that there were elements within the Pakistani security establishment who helped the former al Qaeda chief reside in the country. However, a meticulous review of the newly released documents might shed some light on this matter in the coming days.
According to The New York Times, one of Bin Laden’s trusted associates, whose mobile phone was seized during the raid, apparently had some contacts with the Harkatul Mujahideen group, a banned militant outfit which operates in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Although the members of US Special Forces took everything they could from the compound, there was some intelligence left behind which was scooped up by local law enforcement officials which have not been made public.
Whatever the verdict, the released documents do offer a unique chance for journalists, experts, academics and public intellectuals to garner a better understanding of the inner workings of al Qaeda.