'Osama bin Laden was US operator destabilising Benazir govt'

Last Updated: Mon, May 11, 2009 17:02 hrs

Washington: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has alleged that elusive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was a US operator who had tried to destabilise his late wife Benazir Bhutto's government back in 1989.

In fact, as premier Bhutto had "warned America about Osama bin Laden in 1989 with a call to then US president George H Bush", Zardari said on NBC's Meet the Press programme Sunday.

"She rang senior Bush and asked of him: 'Are you destabilising my government?' because he (apparently referring to bin Laden) paid the then opposition $10 million to overthrow the first woman elected (prime minister) in an Islamic country," Zardari added.

"So, we knew that he was your operator," said Zardari responding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts.

"You'll have been there (in Afghanistan) for eight years. (So) you tell me. You lost him in Tora Bora, I didn't, I was in prison," he countered when asked where bin Laden was before hurling the allegation at Washington.

Asked if Pakistan was actively looking for bin Laden, Zardari replied: "The world is looking for him and we are part of the world look-out brigade."

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