WASHINGTON: The US State Department, reacting to news that Osama bin Laden had lived at five different locations in Pakistan over the decade leading up to his death in the May 2, 2011 raid, maintained that they never found credible evidence which points towards a Pakistan support network for the al Qaeda supremo.
State Department spokesperson Mark Toner was asked during the daily briefing on Friday whether the Pakistan government was consistently lying to the US over bin Laden. The official responded “immediately after the Abbottabad raid, we asked the Pakistani Government the question of whether there was a larger network at play here or there was some kind of network of support, I guess, for bin Ladin when he was there. We have not received any information that indicates that there was such a network of support there.”
Pressed on whether he believed that Pakistan had lied to the US, Toner responded, “I don’t believe so … we haven’t received any indications that indicate that there was some broader network, no.”
US drones while waiting for parliamentary review
As if to send a reminder to the political forces in Islamabad to adopt a more urgent attitude towards the Parliamentary review of ties with the US, an unmanned aerial vehicle had launched missiles in Miranshah, North Waziristan, killing at least four people.
Asked about the strike, Toner said that he did not have a comment for the early Friday morning strike, but that the US continues to await results of the review.
“That’s still ongoing. But I think that in terms of our relations, we continue to have engagement at all levels within the Pakistani Government. And we certainly respect the review process that’s underway and we look forward to the results, and then we’ll be willing to discuss some of the issues raised by that. But as to this incident, I don’t have any comment.”
Meanwhile, a US government official, dispelling notions that the drone strikes were on hold till Pakistan completes its review, told Reuters on Friday that, “the United States is conducting, and will continue to conduct, the counter terrorism operations it needs to protect the US and its interests.”