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Homeland Security

Pakistani agencies had almost caught Bin Laden, claims Interior Minister

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 8, IRNA -- Interior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that Pakistani security agencies were ‘very close’ to capturing the slain al-Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, a media report said on Thursday.

Daily ‘Express Tribune’ said that the minister told a judicial commission that security agencies were about to find Bin Laden’s compound when US special forces captured and killed the al Qaeda chief on May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad.

“We were about to catch Osama when US Navy SEALs raided his compound (in Abbottabad),” Express Tribune quoted Malik as saying.

Malik has recorded his statement and submitted a detailed report regarding the incident to the commission.

He also briefed the commission on security and visa policies. Both policies were being reviewed after the raid, Malik told members of the commission.

The Abbottabad commission had summoned the interior minister last month, seeking an explanation of the circumstances leading to Bin Laden’s killing in light of security agencies’ briefing to the interior ministry soon after the raid, which triggered a heated debate on the failure of the Inter-Services Intelligence.

The panel also held a detailed interactive session with senior officials of the interior ministry, particularly Interior Secretary Siddique-e-Akbar, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory Tariq Mehmood Pirzada, Inspector General Police Islamabad Bani Amin Khan, Director General Federal Investigation Agency Javed Iqbal, Director General Immigration & Passport Syed Wajid Ali and chairman of the national counter-terrorism authority, according to a statement issued by the commission.

The commission has already recorded statements of the heads of military and civil intelligence agencies, the chief of the Pakistan Air Force, the director-general military operations, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, present and former foreign minister and secretaries, and the wives and children of Bin Laden who were taken into protective custody from the three-storey compound in Abbottabad.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80029874

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