06/15/2011, 00.00
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Islamabad arrests five CIA informants who spied on Bin Laden

The five helped identify and capture the Islamist leader. Some of them are members of the Pakistani army. US-Pakistani relations get worse as Islamabad fears retaliation for his cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s infamous secret service, has arrested five people who reportedly acted as informants for the Central Intelligence Agency, the US foreign intelligence service. All five were involved in the operation that led to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s number 1, who was hiding in a compound in the military town of Abbottabad, the New York Times reported today.

CIA Director Leon Panetta raised the issue of the informants’ detention during a trip to Islamabad last week where he met with Pakistani military and intelligence officers, the newspaper said. It is unclear what will happen to the five detainees, all Pakistanis, one of whom is an army major.

Some analysts see the arrest “as another sign of the deep disconnect between US and Pakistani priorities in the fight against extremists”.

The United States kept Islamabad in the dark about the 2 May raid that led to Bin Laden’s capture and death. Now, Pakistan is concerned about the reaction of Islamic extremists and remains ambivalent in its attitude towards the struggle against terrorism.

Official sources are more cautious. “We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise,” CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf told the newspaper.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, was quoted as saying that Islamabad and Washington “are working out mutually agreeable terms for their cooperation in fighting the menace of terrorism. It is not appropriate for us to get into the details at this stage.”

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