Osama bin Laden raid: Pakistan probe panel to visit Abbottabad compound

The inquiry commission will record the statements of witnesses in the garrison city of Abbottabad during its visit.

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A key Pakistani panel probing the US military operation that killed Osama bin Laden was briefed by top Air Force officials about the events leading up to the American raid, ahead of its September 13-15 visit to the al-Qaeda chief's compound in Abbottabad to record statements of witnesses.

The inquiry commission, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, will record the statements of witnesses in the garrison city of Abbottabad during its visit there, an official statement said last evening.

Bin Laden was killed in his Abbottabad compound by US special forces on May 2.

The commission members yesterday visited the headquarters of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), where senior officials briefed them on events leading up to the American operation in Abbottabad.

The chief of the Headquarters' Air Defence Command informed the panel about the locations of low and high-altitude radars and their operational readiness during war and peace time, the statement said.

He indicated situations where the radar system cannot detect an intruding aircraft or helicopter due to terrain limitations. He said for the past many years and before May 2, PAF had maintained a "peace time posture" on its western border with Afghanistan.

The commission was also briefed by pilots who flew aircraft for scanning the area for any intruders on the night between May 1 and 2.

"On learning about the operation, PAF immediately took adequate operational measures as per standard operating procedure," the statement said.

PAF aircraft continued their presence in Abbottabad area till early morning on May 2 and later returned to their bases.

The Air Officer Commanding and pilots responded to questions from the commission.

The panel has been asked by the government to ascertain how bin Laden managed to live in Pakistan for several years, investigate the US operation that killed him, determine the nature and causes of lapses by authorities and make suitable recommendations.

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