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Pakistani officials reject claims of ISI handling bin Laden

Updated Mar 19, 2014 08:10pm
British journalist Carlotta Gall claims that then-ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha was also aware of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.—File Photo
British journalist Carlotta Gall claims that then-ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha was also aware of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Top Pakistani intelligence officials on Wednesday rejected claims made by a British journalist that the ISI ran a special desk to handle former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The journalist, Carlotta Gall, further claims in her upcoming book “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014” that then-ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha also knew of bin Laden’s presence in the country.

An excerpt from the book, which is coming out next month, was published in the New York Times on Wednesday.

“There is no truth in New York Times story,” intelligence officials, who wished not to be named told Dawn.com. “The claims are totally baseless.”

Nobody in Pakistan knew about presence of Osama bin Laden, the officials said.

Gall, who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for The New York Times from 2001 to 2013, claims inside sources told her that the special desk was “operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior.”

“He handled only one person: Bin Laden,” she writes.

There has so far been no official reaction from either the Pakistani Foreign Office or the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistan army.