US media’s new slight rejected by military
ISLAMABAD: The Inter-Services Public Relations on Friday reacted sharply to a New York Times report suggesting that a militant group with ties to ISI could have functioned as Osama bin Laden’s support network in Pakistan, saying Pakistani military’s counter-terrorism efforts spoke louder than the NYT’s words.
“Pakistan and its security agencies have suffered the most at the hands of Al Qaeda and have delivered the most against the terror outfit; our actions on the ground speak louder than the words of the Times,” ISPR Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said.
The NYT story titled ‘Seized phone offers clues to Bin Laden’s Pakistani links’ said: “The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.”
Quoting anonymous officials, the daily said the discovery indicated that Bin Laden used the group, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, as part of his support network inside the country.
The cellphone numbers, NYT said, provided one of the most intriguing leads yet in the hunt for the answer to an urgent and vexing question for Washington: How was it that Bin Laden was able to live comfortably for years in Abbottabad?
The Harkat, the report claimed, had deep roots in the area around Abbottabad and the groupÂ’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil lives unbothered by Pakistani authorities on the outskirts of Islamabad.
Some of the phone numbers of Harkat commanders retrieved from the courier’s cellphone were in turn determined to have called Pakistani intelligence officials.
Gen Athar said “the army rejects the insinuations made in the story”. “It is part of a well-orchestrated campaign against our security institutions,” he added.