Pakistan may have shared OBL's location with US: Former ISI chief

Updated February 11, 2015

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Former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani. — DawnNews screengrab
Former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani. — DawnNews screengrab

Former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani has said that Pakistan had 'most likely' revealed the position of former Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to the US, a report published on the Al Jazeera website said.

In an interview on Al Jazeera's Head to Head show, the former ISI chief cast doubts over the intelligence agency's official line that it was unaware of the Al Qaeda chief's whereabouts prior to his killing.

“I cannot say exactly what happened but my assessment […] was it is quite possible that they [the ISI] did not know but it was more probable that they did. And the idea was that at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been, when you can get the necessary quid pro quo — if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States," the former head of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency told the host of the show.

Durrani was of the view that Osama Bin Laden's position was revealed to the Americans in exchange for an agreement on “how to bring the Afghan problem to an end”.

Responding to a question whether the Abbottabad compound, raided by the US in May 2011, was an ISI safehouse or not, the former ISI chief said: “If ISI was doing that, then I would say they were doing a good job. And if they revealed his location, they again probably did what was required to be done.”

Lt Gen (r) Durrani added that the comments were only his opinion and that he did "not know what had happened".

He also told the host of the show, “The admission of incompetence was probably done on political reasons… As far as the people of Pakistan were concerned, it was going to be very uncomfortable for them that their government, you know, is in cahoots now with the United States and gets hold of Osama bin Laden,” and added that Bin Laden “was an admired figure in Pakistan”.

Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani served as the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence between 1990 and 1991. He later also served as Pakistan's Envoy to Germany during the late 90s and to Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s.

Also read: Obama administration had tacit consent of Pakistan military, claims book

The series of which the interview episode is a part of a series to be aired in April 2015.

Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with US forces in Pakistan's garrison city of Abbottabad on May 1 2011, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the then chief of the Al Qaeda militant organisation.

Contrary to reports, Pakistan officially denies that the ISI protected Osama bin Laden or that it had played any role in the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad.