WASHINGTON (AFP) – A cellphone used by Osama bin Laden's courier appears to show that he was aided by Pakistani militants linked to the country's powerful intelligence agency, The New York Times said Thursday.
Citing US officials briefed on an investigation into the phone, the Times said calls from the device were traced to Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a militant group linked to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
It cited US officials as saying the cellphone showed that the group's commanders had called Pakistani intelligence officials. The newspaper cited one US official who said the two parties had met.
"It's a serious lead," one US official told the Times. "It's an avenue we're investigating."
Another US official told the daily that the link was not, however, a "smoking gun" that definitively linked bin Laden to the ISI, as it was unclear whether any calls were related to him.