Pakistan Denies Arresting Army Major for US Ties

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's military says reports one of its own officers has been detained for helping the U.S. track down and kill Osama bin Laden are “false and totally baseless.”

Pakistani Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas Wednesday rejected the story that first appeared in the New York Times. But another official admits there have been arrests in connection to the May 2 raid on bin Laden's hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Syed Azmat Ali tells VOA several people have been detained though he refused to clarify the charges against them.

The New York Times said Wednesday that a Pakistani army major was one of five people detained by Pakistan's spy agency. The U.S. newspaper said he had recorded the license plate numbers of cars visiting bin Laden's house and gave that information to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

It said the other four detainees had also worked as U.S. informants.

U.S. officials told the Times CIA Director Leon Panetta asked about the detained informants during meetings with military and intelligence officials in Pakistan last week.

The fate of the detainees is not clear.

A CIA spokeswoman said the agency has a strong relationship with its Pakistani counterparts and works through issues when they arise.

Still, the detentions have sparked anger in Washington.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham Wednesday questioned Pakistan's willingness and ability to fight terrorists. He also told reporters that it is “almost impossible for an American politician to continue to help Pakistan.”

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been tense since commandos raided bin Laden's hideout near Islamabad and killed the al-Qaida leader.

Some members of Congress have threatened to withdraw the close to $4 billion in annual U.S. aid to Pakistan.