ISI shelters Osama bin Laden, Zawahiri. Shocking!

This month’s winner of the coveted Captain Louis Renault Award is a simple choice. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency is sheltering al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al Zawahiri. Oh, and they’re operating somewhere in Pakistan’s northwest, in the vast region between Kurram and Chitral (note: they are not in North Waziristan, where the Predators are hunting). From CNN:

Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said.

“Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.

Rather, al Qaeda’s top leadership is believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and some members of the Pakistani intelligence services, the official said.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied protecting members of the al Qaeda leadership.

The official said the general region where bin Laden is likely to have moved around in recent years ranges from the mountainous Chitral area in the far northwest near the Chinese border, to the Kurram Valley, which adjoins Afghanistan’s Tora Bora, one of the Taliban strongholds during the U.S. invasion in 2001.

The information in the CNN report is as shocking as the information in the reports of the previous winners of the Captain Louis Renault Award, such as: ISI shelters top Afghan Taliban leaders. Shocking!; and ISI involved in 2008 Mumbai attack. We would never have guessed….

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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17 Comments

  • Vijay D says:

    The US military high command last was in the tank for Pakistan during Chuck Yeager’s time when he was rumored to have flown combat missions against India during the 1971 war. But that was then. From at least Hugh Shelton’s time, top brass in the US army was aware that the Pakistani military was completely untrustworthy. When Bin-Laden was reported to be meeting in a camp in August 1998, the dilemma was whether or not to inform the Pakistani army of the forthcoming cruise missile strike lest they fear that they were nuclear tipped missiles from India and launch a “retaliatory” strike or to inform them and find that the terrorist camps were empty thanks to the ISI tipping off Bin-Laden.

  • davidp says:

    For completeness, it’s worth attaching to this story the note that Pakistan held and released the supreme commander of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
    //www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2010/10/pakistan_releases_mullah_barad.php

  • jayc says:

    Thanks Bill,
    This ditty served to remind me of military humor at its finest. I am also “shocked, shocked!”
    If you want some more good military laughs, try the jokes section of strategypage.com. Of course, no busting on the Navy, OK? Haha.

  • Giri says:

    Osama – in a word is bread, butter and sugar for the pak establishment. Give him up and their lunch is toast !!!!!!!1

  • Bing says:

    Just seems like regular bargaining tactics for the upcoming aid deal for Pakistan.
    Business as usual.

  • Paul says:

    So if we know where he is why don’t we have black ops on the ground in Pakistan looking for him?

  • Tim says:

    Just read this piece of news about the Pakistan Army’s genocide of the Baloch population. Balochistan is a province of Pakistan, mind you.
    //southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers42%5Cpaper4106.html
    If the murderous ISI can cleanse its own population for money, harbouring Bin Laden and others for money is not unusual. What is unusual is the way the world is taken for a ride everytime by the ISI. The Pak Army, ISI is rewarded with cash, weapons, diplomatic praise and diplomatic one-upmanship against India….in return for what? Total BETRAYAL? Total DISREGARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS?
    Heck, why don’t we just pay Bin Laden himself…anyway through the ISI he is actually on the NATO payroll….Infact, his every meal comes from my tax money!!

  • Sumit says:

    We at India knew this since long. I guess he is staying in presidential palace or something of that sort which can not be attacked either by covert or a direct air strike.

  • madashell59 says:

    First he is in the caves, then in Iran, then living large in some Northern province of Pakistan. Sounds like a lot of dis-information.
    I prefer to believe he is in Iran since both Iran and Iraq were via for Middle East rule. However, if this is true then maybe Pakistan is now vying for Middle East rule.
    Very Interesting!
    This will definetely help the people who want the US out of the Middle East whether they are US citizens or not.
    Is CNN playing into someones hands? Someone had once said Bin Laden is like the Thump the Mole game.
    However, the real war is against Terrorism not Bin Laden. The world must stop Islamist fanatic idealogy and their terrorist armies. This in the end will need to come from within the Religion of Islam. If it does not then at sometime the world will have to be at war with Islam. This is sad to say but until we get the majority of the Islamic leaders to protest the terror groups and contain and destroy them (whether literally or organizationally) this war will continue.
    Lets not forget Iraq for it is a beacon of light that should start this mind set.

  • Charu says:

    Add to this today’s AP revelations that David Headley/Daud Gilani, the Pakistani-American operative involved in the Mumbai massacres, sang to the Indian investigators about Pakistani military involvement in the, arguably, the worst terrorist attack since 9-11.
    The names that he provided must have been known to the US investigators who interrogated him long before the Indians were given access, and yet there was no retaliation, no drone attacks, even though 6 (white) Americans were collaterally killed along with over 100 Indians. Contrast this to the flurry of predator attacks ongoing to prevent a Mumbai-styled attack in Germany! Headley, himself, was arrested only after he had turned his murderous sights to Denmark.
    For decades the US looked the other way as Pakistan developed WMDs with the active assistance of China. As long as it was targeted towards India, what did it matter? Only when Pakistan’s Nukemart began to proliferate to Iran and Libya and North Korea did we get religion. Likewise, Pakistan’s hijacking of a commercial Indian flight to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan raised no eyebrows until 9-11 happened. The many Pakistani-directed bombings in the 80’s and 90’s in Indian cities had no bearing until Shahzad attempted to bomb Times Square. Our short-sighted policies have repeatedly come back to bite us, and yet we never learn because it is the same incestuous group of people who make up our intelligence agencies since the time of its founding; brilliantly characterized in the movie, The Good Shepherd. Captain Louis Renault was at least an amoral rogue with his heart in the right place.

  • paul says:

    They know their Economical aid which they survive on will stop once OBL,Omar and Co are handed over.

  • kimball says:

    Osama Bin Laden is actually deceased.

  • Shahid Khan says:

    there are aliens in the outer space. if no one can prove that they do not exist then it means that they exist. Oh yes aliens are 600 yrs advance in technology than humans.

  • wallbangr says:

    I too find that about all I can do is laugh at the absurdity of all of this. Such is our impotence. However, what did we expect when the Obama Administration signaled a hard and fast withdrawal date as soon as he was in office? We made it clear to the enemy and our erstwhile (supposed) ally that we had no intention of staying past a certain date — thereby showing either a fundamental misunderstanding of the long-term nature of a true COIN strategy or a failure to care (likely a combination of the two). Once the writing was on the wall, the enemy need only wait it out and the Paks could use the opportunity to milk the US for additional aid while the gravy train was still in town. All the while, the Paks would (and did) line themselves up to be in a position to extend their spheres of influence once the American’s packed up and went home. All the Paks had to do was keep up the charade long enough to quell tensions at home (with their support of the infidel Americans) and keep some semblence, no matter how thinly veiled, of plausible cooperation so that the teet would not run dry. This is a real connundrum. As long as we are relying on the Paks to do something that is not in their long-term interest, I’m not sure we can win this war. And it hasn’t helped that we telegraphed our true intentions by giving a withdrawal date that laid bare the strategic blunder. As for the maddening treachery of the Pak farce, I can only add, “with friends like this — who needs enemas?”

  • anan says:

    “and yet there was no retaliation, no drone attacks, even though 6 (white) Americans were collaterally killed along with over 100 Indians. Contrast this to the flurry of predator attacks ongoing to prevent a Mumbai-styled attack in Germany! Headley, himself, was arrested only after he had turned his murderous sights to Denmark.”
    Charu, respectfully, there has been “A LOT OF RETALIATION” against LeT, Iyas Kashmiri, Siraj et all [all of whom were close to Headley.] By ISAF, ANSF, and drones.
    Lashkar e Taiba is one of the largest militant groups fighting ANSF and ISAF in eastern Afghanistan and is one of the main targets of the drone strikes.
    I think the GIRoA, NDS, ANA, ANP and ISAF get it. They know that LeT is the enemy. Whether the non military parts of ISAF governments get it is another story. Sometimes it seems like the minds of some CIA and State Department officers have been subtly colonized and manipulated by the ISI.
    It is probable that many drone strikes are based on NDS information. And we all know what the NDS thinks about LeT [and TTP, TNSM, Hekmatyur, IJU/IMU, Iyas Kashmiri and the entire Taliban/AQ alphabet soup].
    It is increasingly difficult to differentiate between different Taliban and AQ factions. They are part of a broader global Takfiri extremist movement.

  • Jimmy says:

    Read this excellent article about the possible positive fallouts of disintegration of the Pakistani state…basically, EVERYONE STANDS TO GAIN!
    //indiandefencereview.com/IDR-Updates/If-Pakistan-splinters.html
    That is how the US and NATO should proceed…an independent Balochistan (not controlled by the mischievous Sunni Pakistan Army ISI) is the best answer for unhindered NATO supply lines and containment of China…

  • Charu says:

    @anan, I would just as respectfully argue that the attacks on LeT were incidental and collateral; we were aiming for AQ without realizing that the training camps were intermingled. If LeT was truly considered to be a threat to ISAF, then Hafiz Saeed and other LeT operatives would be scrambling for cover instead of openly walking about in Pakistan under ISI’s protection. As for targeting Kashmiri, I don’t believe that it was ever in retaliation for Mumbai. He came into the cross-hairs only after his connection to Faizal Shazad, the Times Square bomber, and the planned attack on Denmark came up. No one has been brought to justice over the Mumbai massacres, not even the sole captured terrorist, Kasab, by the pusillanimous Indians.

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