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US demands names of top ISI operatives: NYT
Pakistani investigators involved in piecing together bin Laden's life during the past nine years.
New York: The US has demanded the identities of some of Pakistan's military-run ISI's top operatives as it tries to determine whether any of them had contact with Osama bin Laden or his agents in the years before the raid that killed the dreaded terrorist early this week.
Quoting unnamed US officials, the New York Times said members of the US administration have expressed deep frustration with Pakistani military and intelligence officials for their refusal over the years to identify members of the ISI, who were believed to have close ties to the al-Qaeda chief.
"In particular, American officials have demanded information on what is known as the ISI's directorate, which has worked closely with militants since the days of the fight against the Soviet army in Afghanistan," the daily said.
"It's hard to believe that (army Chief Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani and (ISI Director General Shuja) Pasha actually knew that bin Laden was there," a senior administration official was quoted as saying.
But, the official speaking on condition of anonymity, added, "There are degrees of knowing, and it wouldn't surprise me if we find out that someone close to Pasha knew."
The Obama administration officials, however, stopped short of accusing Pakistan government either privately or publicly of complicity in the hiding of bin Laden in the years after the September 11 attacks.
NYT said one senior US official privately acknowledged that the administration sees its relationship with Pakistan as too crucial to risk a wholesale break, even if it turned out that past or present Pakistani intelligence officials did know about bin Laden's whereabouts.
Pakistani investigators involved in piecing together bin Laden's life during the past nine years said this week that he had been living in Pakistan's urban centres longer than previously believed, the daily said.