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Updated: May 8, 2011 18:15 IST

Abbottabad hideout was ‘active’ command centre for Osama: U.S.

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Pakistani soldiers patrol in the vicinity of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout, on May 2, 2011.
Pakistani soldiers patrol in the vicinity of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout, on May 2, 2011.

Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout was an “active command and control centre” of al-Qaeda, the U.S. has said, releasing five videos of the slain terror kingpin seized during the raid on his compound in Pakistan. Abbottabad compound was “an active command and control centre” for al Qaeda’s top leader.

It is clear that he was not just a strategic thinker of the group. He was active in operational planning and driving tactical decisions inside al Qaeda,” a senior intelligence official said.

Pakistan still holding bin Laden's wives, children

As U.S. investigators comb through a treasure trove of computer data and documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s home, Pakistani officials face a more domestic task- What to do with three of the slain terrorist leader’s wives and eight of his children.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that government officials were still holding the wives and children for questioning and that so far, no country had sought their extradition.

Pakistan gained custody of bin Laden’s family members on Monday after a covert U.S. operation killed the al Qaeda chief at his hideout in the northwestern city of Abbottabad.

Among them was bin Laden’s Yemeni-born wife, Amal Ahmed Abdullfattah.

She has told Pakistani investigators that she moved to the home in 2006 and never left the compound.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokeswoman Tahmina Janjua said that neither Yemen or any other country had asked for the extradition of bin Laden’s relatives. Pakistani officials, who have not disclosed where the relatives are being held, have said that they will be returned to their countries of origin.

The ages of the children have not been disclosed.

Bin Laden led a life on the run, yet he kept his family close.

One of his sons, Khalid, was killed during the raid. Abdullfattah, his youngest wife, was shot in the leg and was initially taken to a military hospital, a Pakistani military official has said. One of his daughters watched her father being slain, he said.

Abdullfattah told interrogators that she had been staying in bin Laden’s hideout since 2006 and never left the upper floors of the large, sparsely furnished building, said a Pakistani intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the agency’s policy.

CIA officers have not been given access to the women or children in custody, the official said. Their accounts could help shed light on the U.S. military operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader and on how he was able to avoid capture for nearly 10 years.

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