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ISI could not keep Osama under wraps: Former IB chief

May 03, 2011 21:00 IST

In an informal chat, former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval tells Onkar Singh that Osama Bin Laden's death must have come as a blow to Al Queda. "But if you ask me whether the Islamic radicalism has been badly hit, I would say no."

Bin Laden was killed by the American forces in Abbotabad just 61 kilometers away from Pakistani capital Islamabad.

"This was an Inter-Services Intelligence safe house. The basic question that we need to answer is when did he come to this house, or when was he moved from a safe house in Quetta to Abbottabad. The construction of the house began in 2005, so if he moved sometime in 2006, then that assumes a new significance," Doval said.

According to him, this was the time when former United States President Goerge W Bush was perssurising Pakistan to catch Osama. This incidentally was also the period when Pakistan offered to India to wage a joint battle against terrorist outfits.

"Osama escaped detection because he was incommunicado, with neither a telephone nor an internet-enabled computer. But security agencies had satellite pictures of the house. The ISI had moved him to Abbottabad but could not keep it under wraps. As a result, the Americans were able to locate him in August last year. Once found, they waited for the right time to surround and kill the most wanted man," Doval alleged.

He agreed with the suggestion that a dead Osama could be more dangerous than the living one. "We will have to wait and see what impact his killings have on those who subscribe to his theory. I personally believe that the Americans used a missile to penetrate the house before moving in and killing him," he said.

He refused to subscribe to the theory that the hideout belonged to two Afgan brothers.

"Though they continue to be the owners of the house on paper, it was purchased by an ISI frontman to protect Osama's identity," he alleged.
Onkar Singh in New Delhi