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ISI controlled Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound: Book

PTI 28 Apr 2016, 13:14:56 IST

Washington: The Abbottabad hideout of Osama bin Laden was under ISI control and a Pakistan Army doctor treated the most dreaded terrorist in the world before he was killed in a daring raid by US commandos in 2011, according to a new book.

In fact, the doctor Amir Aziz, of the rank of major, who lived in a compound near bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, was rewarded by the CIA with a share of the USD 25 million bounty the US had put up because a DNA sample had conclusively proved the al-Qaeda leader's identity.

In his latest book, 'The Killing of Osama bin Laden', investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claims that ISI got hold of bin Laden in 2006 after paying bribes to some of the tribal leaders. At the time he was said to be very ill.

"Early on in his confinement at Abbottabad, the ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army, to move nearby to provide treatment," Hersh claims, basing his account on a conversation he had with an unidentified retired Pakistan Army official.

And all this while the Pakistani leadership in particular the army chief and ISI boss repeatedly told the US that they did not know the whereabouts of bin Laden.

"It's understood in Washington that elements of the ISI believe that maintaining a relationship with the Taliban leadership inside Afghanistan is essential to national security. The ISI's strategic aim is to balance Indian influence in Kabul.

"The Taliban is also seen in Pakistan as a source of jihadist shock troops who would back Pakistan against India in a confrontation over Kashmir," Hersh said in his book that hit stores early this month.

"The Pakistanis also know that their trump card against aggression from India is a strong relationship with the United States. They will never cut their person-to-person ties with us," a senior retired army official is quoted as saying.

Hersh claims that the CIA came to know about bin Laden's hideout from a senior Pakistani intelligence official who betrayed the secret in return for much of the USD 25 million reward offered by the US.

The said official is now living near Washington along with his family.

Hersh said his information collected from US intelligence and other sources was vetted by former ISI head Asad Durrani.