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Osama had support network in Pakistan: Obama

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : US President Barack Obama says Osama bin Laden had “some sort of support network” within Pakistan that helped keep the Al Qaeda leader secure at his Abbottabad hideout for six years.

“We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan,” Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS. “But we don’t know who or what that support network was.”

The US officials “don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of government (or) people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate,” he said.

“More importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate,” he said noting Islamabad has “indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had.”

“But these are questions we’re not going to be able to answer three or four days after the event,” Obama said. “It’s going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site.”

Pakistan’s ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani, meanwhile told CNN he couldn’t say whether bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan could be chalked up to “duplicity or incompetence,”

“I think the best way to move forward is to wait for the findings of an internal (investigation) — a look at the issue,” Haqqani said. “I do not think that speculation is going to solve any problem.”

In an interview on ABC, Haqqani conceded there had been a failure on the part of Pakistan government and said an investigation is already ongoing.

“Heads will roll” once it’s completed, Haqqani promised. The investigation “will lead wherever it will lead.”

Obama’s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon also said he has not seen any information to indicate Pakistani officials knew bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.

But if evidence is discovered that is “highly disturbing, we’ll certainly press that,” he said.

“We’ll clearly be working with (Pakistani authorities) to understand how we got to this point,” Donilon said.

“We need to look at this in a calm and cool way,” he said. There is a lot “at stake in that region.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])