Osama planned major attacks before death: Report

Islamabad: Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had planned to mount indiscriminate attacks on the Pakistani soil before his killing in a covert US raid in Abbottabad, the documents seized by the Americans from the slain terrorist`s compound in the Pakistani garrison city have suggested.

The CIA shared intelligence about possible al-Qaeda attacks inside Pakistan when officials of the two countries met to explore the way forward in resetting bilateral ties, the Dawn newspaper reported quoting its sources.

The information was "based on documents seized by US Navy SEALs during the raid on Osama bin Laden`s compound" in the garrison town of Abbottabad in May last year.

Some details of the intelligence "revealed that before being killed in the May 2 raid, bin Laden, along with Ayman Al-Zawahiri… and other senior leaders of the terror outfit had planned to mount indiscriminate attacks on Pakistani soil," the daily reported. The report further said there were "conflicting reports about the shared intelligence."

One unnamed participant of a meeting said CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell had presented a dossier to Pakistani officials while another claimed the US had provided "just a tip about what al-Qaeda had been planning to do in Pakistan" without related details that could help put the jigsaw together.

The report further said it was not clear whether the CIA intended to identify bin Laden`s "support network within Pakistan with the help of shared intelligence or wanted to rebuild the much-needed mutual trust for moving forward."

The US embassy yesterday issued a special message that said American diplomats and citizens in Pakistan had been asked to be on alert in the run-up to the first death anniversary of bin Laden on May 2.

Intelligence cooperation, especially the relationship between the CIA and the ISI, had "formed the bedrock of Pakistan-US ties till last year`s events derailed the bilateral relationship," the report noted.

Al-Zawahiri took over as al-Qaeda chief about a month after bin Laden`s death. Pakistan has denied assertions by US officials that elements of the Pakistani security establishment may have sheltered bin Laden after he moved to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2002.

The CIA has been sharing some of the information gleaned from the intelligence "treasure trove" recovered from bin Laden`s compound with spy services like Britain`s MI-5 and MI-6 and others but has never shared details with Pakistan "for fear of it being compromised." This was the first time that the CIA shared such information with Pakistan, the Dawn reported.

During a joint news conference yesterday with Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani after talks at the Foreign Office, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman stressed on counter-terror cooperation.

The two sides jointly need to make an effort "to counter terrorism and other extremist groups. One of the issues we talked about this morning was how to deal with this challenge together," he said. The two sides set up groups of experts to discuss counter-terrorism, reopening of NATO supply routes and reimbursements to Pakistan under the US Coalition Support Fund.