Washington: US officials on Sunday confirmed that Pakistan was unaware of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s hideout in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"At this point, we have no indication that the Pakistani government was aware that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. We are asking some questions and the Pakistanis themselves have said that they are asking questions," said a senior US intelligence official on condition of anonymity.

He said this was based on the preliminary round of information gathered from the huge cache of materials recovered from bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, 80 kms from
Islamabad, where he lived in a three-storey building.

54-year-old bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, was shot dead early this month by US forces in a successful operation. The incident has raised several questions about the involvement and competency of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

"The relationship with Pakistan is important one. It is also a complicated relationship. It is important that we find ways in the future to work together, especially on the counter-terrorism front," the official said.

"They have been co-operative in the past on pursuing terrorists inside Pakistan. This is a common fight. Bin Laden is responsible for scores of operations that has killed a large number of Pakistanis as well. So there is a mutual interest in working together and we need to find ways to solidify that relationship going forward," he said.

However, he added that there may have been support from within Pakistan to the al-Qaeda leader.

"But that doesn't necessarily mean the Pakistani government. We need to tread carefully here and analyse the information and to see where it takes us," the official said.

"We are not going to talk about Pakistanis, but we obviously have questions," he added.

Agencies