US interviews 3 of bin Laden's widows in Pakistan

Widows provided little new information, official says; US lawmaker thinks al-Qaida's No. 2 Zawahri in Pakistan.

May 14, 2011 02:17
2 minute read.
Man holds poster of Osama bin Laden at rally

Man holds poster of Osama bin Laden at rally in Pakistan 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed)


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WASHINGTON - US authorities in Pakistan interviewed three of Osama bin Laden's widows on Friday but gathered little new information from them, US officials said.

Authorities are now trying to piece together vital elements of the al-Qaida leader's life, including how he came to live in the northern Pakistan garrison town of Abbottabad and who he met with before his death in a U.S. raid on May 2.

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"The US has questioned bin Laden's widows, but they're not particularly forthcoming yet," a US official with knowledge of the investigation said on condition of anonymity.

In another development, the chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, Representative Mike Rogers, said he believes al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman Zawahri, is also in Pakistan. He said he hopes Pakistani officials will help the United States find him.

"I believe he's in Pakistan," Rogers told the CBS program "60 Minutes" in an interview to be aired on Sunday.

The Egyptian-born Zawahri has long been thought to be hiding along the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border. But the same was assumed about bin Laden, who ultimately was found in a city not far from Pakistan's capital.

Bin Laden, the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, died in a raid on his Pakistan compound by US commandos who seized what US officials describe as a treasure trove of intelligence material.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, "The US government has had access to Osama bin Laden's wives."

Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan also said US government representatives had been able to question the wives but declined to specify what agency the US government officials represented or to offer any details of the meeting.

US authorities are working with Pakistani officials to gain additional access to the women.

Pakistan has said it will repatriate the three widows and their children. One is from Yemen and two from Saudi Arabia.

Rogers said bin Laden's killing could lead to more cooperation from Islamabad.

"I hope they (the Pakistanis) see this as an opportunity to be more cooperative. To be more open, to help us with other targets that we have in Pakistan that we're very interested in having apprehended and brought to justice," Rogers said in the excerpts from the "60 Minutes" interview.

"Zawahri is a great example."

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