‘Osama held extensive meetings with Al-Qaeda, Taliban leaders in Abbottabad’

London, May 16(ANI): Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was not as isolated as the United States thought, as he was known to have had extensive meetings with Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

A Taliban official revealed that bin Laden met potential donors from Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, as Al-Qaeda was short of funding.

However, because of the risk of being discovered, the Al-Qaeda chief very rarely invited people to his hideaway in Pakistan's Abbottabad city.

"He (bin Laden) said fundraising was crucial, but he limited the number of contributors he saw because of the risk. He was afraid these face-to-face meetings would lead his enemies to his house," a Taliban commander told Newsweek.

The official, who has asked not to be named for security reasons, also claims that he had met bin Laden at the Abbottabad compound in 2009.

He further said that bin Laden regularly took part in face-to-face meetings with fellow Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders at the base which was just miles away from the military academy dubbed as Pakistan's 'Sandhurst'.

He said that bin Laden had been forced to work harder within the Al-Qaeda network as a number of his senior lieutenants had been killed.

"So, he said he had no choice, but to be active and meet people despite the security risks," the official said.

Bin Laden, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a secret military operation carried out on the order of US President Barack Obama.

The Saudi-born terrorist, accused of being behind a number of atrocities, including the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, was at the top of the US "most wanted" list.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com