Islamabad The United States wants access to Osama bin Laden’s three widows and any intelligence material its commandos left behind at the al-Qaida leader’s compound, a top American official said in comments broadcast Sunday that could add a fresh sticking point in already frayed ties with Pakistan.
Information from the women, who remained in the house after the commandos killed bin Laden, might answer questions about whether Pakistan harbored the al-Qaida chief as many American officials are speculating. It could also reveal details about the day-to-day life of bin Laden, his actions since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the inner workings of al-Qaida.
The women, along with several children also picked up from the house, are believed to be in Pakistani army custody. A Pakistani army official declined to comment Sunday on the request, which U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon revealed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The CIA and Pakistan’s spy agency, known by the acronym ISI, have worked uneasily together in the past on counterterrorism, but the unilateral U.S. raid — done without Pakistan’s advance knowledge — has exposed the deep mistrust that scars a complicated if vital partnership for both nations.