A team of forensic experts from America’s Central Investigation Agency (CIA) on Friday scoured the former hideout of slain Osama bin Laden for new clues.
The al Qaeda chief was killed in a top-secret air-borne raid by US Navy SEALs on May 2 in Abbottabad. Friday’s development comes days after the Pentagon confirmed that Islamabad had returned the wreckage of the US helicopter which was destroyed in the Abbottabad operation.
Pakistani authorities had granted the Pentagon’s request to allow CIA experts to visit the compound where Bin Laden had reportedly lived undetected for years. In the May 2 operation the US Navy SEALs had managed to collect what was described by US officials as a “trove of information”.
The CIA believes that a thorough search of the complex could yield vital documentary information about al Qaeda’s operational plans of the past and future strategies. Police and local sources told The Express Tribune that more than five CIA forensic experts were flown into Abbottabad on a helicopter at around 12:30pm.
They scoured the heavily-guarded compound in Bilal Town for an hour for additional clues, for example, evidence hidden in walls or buried under floors or elsewhere in the compound.
Sleuths of Pakistan’s spy agencies accompanied the CIA experts who reportedly used sophisticated equipment to scour the compound, looking for clues.
Police was tasked to make a second cordon 600 feet away from the Bin Laden compound. Media persons were barred from covering the trip and television cameramen were not allowed to film the compound even from a distance.
The Abbottbad police chief and Deputy Superintendent Police (Cantt) Aziz Afridi were not available for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.