London: Contradicting CIA’s assertion that it has no intelligence on the world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden since 2003, leaked secret US military documents say the al Qaeda chief personally attended a recruitment drive for suicide bombers in Pakistan in 2006.
CIA chief Leon Panetta said in June that the last time the US had precise information on bin Laden’s location was in the “early 2000s”.
But the US military intelligence reports leaked by the whisteblower website Wikileaks show repeated instances in which US forces saw signs of the al Qaeda chief in Pakistan.
The evidence appears to contradict Penetta’s claim last month that there has been no intelligence on al Qaeda leader since 2003, the Daily Telegraph reported, quoting the leaked documents published by the Guardian.
For example, he was reported as attending meetings with recruited suicide bombers in 2006 in Pakistan, it said.
A “threat report” generated by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan said: “Reportedly a high-level meeting was held in Quetta, Pakistan, where six suicide bombers were given orders for an operation in northern Afghanistan.
“Two persons have been given targets in Kunduz, two in Mazar-e-Sharif and the last two are said to come to Faryab,” the report stated.
“These meetings take place once every month, and there are usually about 20 people present. The place for the meeting alternates between Quetta and villages (NFDG) [no further details given] on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The top four people in these meetings are [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, Mullah Dadullah and Mullah [Baradar],” according to the leaked documents.
The documents also contain numerous unverifiable reports on bin Laden’s death, the report said.
Bin Laden is on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives due to several 1998 US embassy bombings.
Since the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, Osama and his organisation al Qaeda have been major targets of the United States’ war on terror. Bin Laden and fellow al Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that some elements in the Pakistan government know the whereabouts of bin Laden and warned Islamabad against keeping a “poisonous” snake in its backyard.
Clinton said Pakistan’s intelligence establishment must share with the US any information about movement of bin Laden and al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“I want those guys. I will not be satisfied until we get them,” she said in interviews to American TV channels.
“…I assume somebody, somebody in this government, from top to bottom, does know where bin Laden is. And I’d like to know too. So I think we’ve got to keep pressure on, which we are doing,” Clinton said.