Islamabad: Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership knew about Osama bin Laden’s presence in the country much before the US navy SEALS killed him in a raid in 2011, the then defense minister of Pakistan has claimed. The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI was aware that Osama was living in Abbottabad, according to Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, who was Pakistan’s defense minister between 2008 and 2012.
Former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, then army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and joint chief of staff all knew that Osama was in Pakistan, Mukhtar told a channel. The former defense minister’s admissions are contrary to what Pakistan has been claiming so far that it was unaware of Osama’s presence in the country until the US Navy SEALs killed him in a daring raid in May 2011.
Mukhtar’s admissions come on the heels of investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s claim that a Pakistani agent had leaked to the US Osama’s Abbottabad hideout address. Osama was killed in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011 in a raid by the US navy SEALS.