May 9th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Obama says bin Laden had 'support network' in Pakistan

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama says Osama bin Laden had a group of supporters within Pakistan helping to keep the al Qaeda leader secure for years, despite an American-led international manhunt that extended for nearly a decade with Islamabad's ostensible support.

Top U.S. officials insist Pakistan remains a critical U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, but are demanding answers to troubling questions about bin Laden's presence in that country over the course of the last six years.

"We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan," Obama said in a "60 Minutes" interview airing Sunday on CBS. "But we don't know who or what that support network was."

The president said U.S. 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."

"More importantly," he added, "the Pakistani government has to investigate."

Pakistani authorities have "indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had," Obama noted. "But these are questions that we're not going to be able to answer" immediately after the raid on bin Laden's compound.

"It's going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site," he said.

Pakistani leaders insist they didn't take part in either the establishment or the maintenance of bin Laden's safe haven, and have promised a full examination of the circumstances that allowed him to spend years in Abbottabad, a city with a heavy military presence located a mere 30 miles north of the country's capital.

Asked by CNN's Fareed Zakaria whether bin Laden's presence in Pakistan could be chalked up to "duplicity or incompetence," Pakistan's U.S. ambassador, Husain Haqqani, said Sunday he couldn't provide an explanation.


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
soundoff (One Response)
  1. wayne gresty

    I don't no weather this matters now he's gone now and he will never bother this world again. England Manchester

    May 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm |