Americans may have had a “mole'' inside the Pakistani security establishment who tipped them about the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout besides giving detailed information about the life in the compound where he was found and killed by American commandos earlier this month, a British newspaper claimed on Sunday.

The Sunday Times quoted Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik as saying he thought “someone from inside'' may have given information that led the Americans to track down bin Laden.

Mr. Malik, former head of the Federal Investigation Agency, said: “In my experience of years an intelligence officer, I think someone from inside may have given information. If the Americans didn't have definitive information, they couldn't have gone straight to the room where bin Laden was.''

The newspaper said the American commandos were carrying a pocket guide which contained such details about the occupants of the compound that it suggested “the CIA may have had a mole inside''.

“The document, left behind in the compound and obtained by The Sunday Times, lists the names and ages of those who were present, including bin Laden's wives, children and grandchildren. It details where they lived in the compound and when some of them arrived. It also suggests bin Laden had fathered twins in captivity. It refers to ‘two unidentified children' born this year to his youngest wife Amal (28). Even the clothing worn by the 54-year-old al-Qaeda leader is described. ‘Always wears light coloured shawal [sic] kameez with a dark vest', it says. ‘Occasionally wears light coloured prayer cap','' the paper said in a front page report along with a facsimile of what it claimed was a page from the guide.

Americans have claimed that they had been “only 45 to 55 per cent sure'' that bin Laden was in the compound when the decision to launch the raid was taken but The Sunday Times said that judging from the details contained in the guide it seemed the CIA was “certain of his presence''.

“The document also bears details that suggest there may be more to the story of how bin Laden was tracked down,'' it claimed.

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