U.S. questions bin Laden wives

The Pentagon acknowledged Friday that Pakistan has allowed U.S. officials to question three of Osama Bin Laden’s wives, who were living with him at his hideaway in Abbottabad when he was killed last week in a raid by Navy SEALs.

The three wives, one of whom was injured in the raid, have been the source of much speculation both in the Pakistan and the United States.

They were taken into custody by Pakistani security services after American forces left bin Laden’s compound with his body in tow.

Pakistan’s government, facing an anti-American backlash in the wake of the unilateral United States action, at first seemed unwilling to make the women available to the United States, despite the two countries’ partnership in fighting terror. But Islamabad later relented.

Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said that “we have had access to the widows.” But he declined to give details, such as where, when and under what circumstances the women were questioned.

He also would not specify whether the United States officials who spoke to the women were members of the military or worked for the CIA.

CNN reported that the three wives were questioned simultaneously and in the presence of Pakistani officials, and were “hostile” toward their American interrogators.

The United States is also sorting through a huge trove of material confiscated from bin Laden’s complex, including computers, flash drives and other material.

In Pakistan on Friday, twin suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a military academy that killed at least 80 people, many of them just-minted paramilitary security forces.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for bin Laden’s death.

Craig Whitlock covers the Pentagon and national security. He has reported for The Washington Post since 1998.
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