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Bin Laden's wives, children ordered not to leave Pakistan by independent commission

ISLAMABAD — An independent Pakistani commission investigating the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden has ordered the government to prevent the al-Qaida chief's wives and children from leaving Pakistan without its permission.

Three of bin Laden's wives and several children have been detained since the May 2 raid on the terror leader's compound in the northwest Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad. Pakistani authorities recently indicated they were about to send the youngest wife to her native Yemen.

The commission's order, which was issued late Tuesday, was directed in part at Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, which tends to operate beyond civilian control and is believed to be holding the family. It wasn't clear if the powerful security agencies would heed the order.

The ability of the U.S. to carry out the operation unilaterally infuriated Pakistanis who saw it as a violation of their country's sovereignty. At the same time, U.S. lawmakers were outraged to learn that bin Laden had managed to hide, apparently for years, in a city that is home to a top Pakistani military academy.

The al-Qaida leader's discovery has raised suspicions that elements of Pakistan's armed forces or intelligence services aided bin Laden, but U.S. officials have said they've seen no evidence that Pakistan's top civilian or military leaders knew of his whereabouts. Since the raid, Pakistani commentators and lawmakers have been unusually vocal in their criticism of the military.

The commission is charged with investigating how bin Laden managed to hide in Abbottabad for so long, and the circumstances surrounding the U.S. operation. Its first meeting, held Tuesday, was not open to the public or the press.

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Bin Laden's wives, children ordered not to leave Pakistan by independent commission 07/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 11:09pm]
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