The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but is keeping his location a secret and wants to use the Al Qaeda chief as leverage over the US as it is wary of America's closer ties with India , noted military historian Stephen Tanner has said.
"We got to make a deal with Pakistan because I'm convinced that he (bin Laden) is protected by the ISI," said Tanner, the author of 'Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban.
Tanner says the ISI knows where bin Laden is hiding, but is not ready to say. The American writer, along with other experts, is interviewed by CNN for a blogpost on the channel's website called 'Whatever happened to bin Laden'.
Noting that it was unlikely for bin Laden to be captured anytime soon, Tanner suggested that the ISI wants to keep him as leverage over the US because it is wary of Washington's closer ties with New Delhi . Without the fear of a bin Laden loose in Pakistan, the intelligence agency fears that the US would lose interest in the country.
"I just think it's impossible after all this time to not know where he is. The ISI knows what's going on in its own country," Tanner said. "We're talking about a 6-foot-4-inch Arab with a coterie of bodyguards."
Another expert, Thomas Mockatis, who is the author of 'Osama bin Laden: A Biography' was also quoted on the CNN blog suggesting that killing bin Laden would probably not be the best idea. "Killing bin Laden would not be a good thing," Mockatis says.
"He's already a hero. Killing bin Laden would just create one more martyr."
Mockatis recommends that dismantling the terror infrastructure is more important than catching bin Laden. There have been alleged sightings of bin Laden in Pakistan, and he is believed to be in North Waziristan, constantly slipping back and forth from the Af-Pak border.
An associate professor of international security studies at Tufts University's Fletcher School in Massachusetts, William Martel, even suggests that it would be better if bin Laden would not be captured as the debate on how the Al Qaeda chief should be treated after his capture would create a firestorm.
"Do we read him his rights; do we run him through a military tribunal or civilian courts?" Martel says. "Capturing him would pose more problems than not." PTI