There have been no formal instructions to media organisations prohibiting their travel to Abbottabad. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is preventing foreign journalists and other visitors from getting close to the house of slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The Danish Ambassador to Pakistan and his wife, and two French journalists, were among several people detained this week in Abbottabad.

They were held briefly before being allowed to return to Islamabad, police in Abbottabad said Friday.

Ambassador Uffe Wolffhechel said he asked security officers at a checkpoint on the road to the house whether he and his wife could get in viewing range of it and ''they said 'we are sorry, no,' and we shook hands and said 'have a nice day'.''

He said they were then held for around two hours while officers checked their papers.

The US operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in early May triggered embarrassing questions over how the CIA was able to track him down without the knowledge of Pakistan's army and spy agencies. A backlash ensued, with authorities placing foreigners in Pakistan under greater scrutiny.

However, there have been no formal instructions to media organisations prohibiting their travel to Abbottabad.

Abbottabad police officer Karim Khan said the authorities were preventing journalists and foreigners from visiting the compound because it is regarded as evidence in investigations into how bin Laden lived there and how the CIA found him.


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