Three of Osama bin Laden's widows taken into detention following the al-Qaida chief's death have been interviewed by U.S. officials, according to NBC News.
The women — who, according to reports, were interviewed together — are not believed to have provided with fresh details about bin Laden's movements or activities, or that of the terror network.
According to reports citing sources in both the Pakistani and U.S. governments, the women were quizzed by U.S. intelligence officers under the supervision of representatives from Pakistan's intelligence service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The same report describes the women as "hostile" toward the Americans. According to NBC News, the information provided by the women appeared to be rehearsed, as if they were told what to say if captured.
A senior Pakistani official tolds NBC News that during a briefing before parliament, the director-general of the ISI, Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, said that that Pakistan's policies do not included denying the U.S. access to any evidence or people in custody, including the wives of Osama bin Laden. He added that Pakistan has "never handed over" anyone to the U.S., but nor has the U.S. been denied access.
Wives to be repatriated?
Bin Laden was shot dead on May 2 in a top-secret raid in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad. The discovery and killing caused much embarrassment to Pakistan, which for years denied the world's most wanted man was on its soil. The government is now under considerable pressure to explain how the al-Qaida leader was found in the garrison town, a short distance from the main military academy, while at the same time facing criticism at home over the perceived violation of sovereignty by the U.S. commando team.
Pakistani cooperation is crucial to combating Islamist militants and to bringing stability to Afghanistan and the U.S. administration has been keen to contain the fallout.
U.S. investigators, who have been sifting through a huge stash of material seized in bin Laden's high-walled compound, wanted to question his three wives as they seek to trace his movements and blunt the activities of his global militant network.
Pakistan says the three wives, one from Yemen and two from Saudi Arabia, and their children, will be repatriated.
Bin Laden's discovery has deepened suspicion that Pakistan's pervasive ISI spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militants, may have had ties with the al-Qaida leader, or that some of its agents did.