bin Laden cellphone linked to group tied to ISI


The Times reports that American analysts searching through a cell phone that belonged to Osama bin Laden’s courier have found contact information for members of the militant group Harakat ul-Mujahideen, whose operatives have allegedly been in contact with members of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) (NYT, CBS/AP, AFP, Tel, Reuters). While U.S. officials said the cell phone evidence was not a “smoking gun” linking bin Laden to Pakistani intelligence, Harakat is considered very close to both al-Qaeda and the ISI, and according to the Times has particularly strong ties to Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed in early May (NYT). A former militant commander also told the Times that he met with bin Laden in 2003 when the latter arrived unexpectedly at a meeting in the Shawal area of North Waziristan.

The Navy SEALs who raided bin Laden’s compound also reportedly found an undated letter in which bin Laden bemoaned al-Qaeda’s tarnished image, and contemplated a name change for the group (AP, Tel). In a confirmation hearing yesterday for top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus to take over the CIA, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told Petraeus that he was the only person named for targeting in documents seized from the Abbottabad complex (WSJ). And Pakistani authorities confirmed today that they have given permission for bin Laden’s youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, to return to her native Yemen (AP).

Af-Pak Daily Brief

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