Last month, President Barack Obama shocked much of the world by announcing that terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, widely believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, had been killed by an elite American force. The troops had flown into his compound and shot Bin Laden, along with a few other men on the scene.
While officials remarked at the time that the squad had recovered some materials that could prove valuable in the fight against terrorism, there was no definite evidence – until now, thanks to the cellphone of Bin Laden's courier, who often carried important messages back and forth between the terrorist leader and key allies.
The phone contained some contacts that were part of the Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, a militant group with close ties to Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI), according to The New York Times. Officials from the agency had trained the Mujahedeen for around two decades. The fact that the numbers were in the phone indicates that Bin Laden may have depended on them for support during his stay in Pakistan.
American analysts say that there is evidence that the calls made by Harakat officials were often outbound to members of the intelligence agency, and the two parties may have even met.
"It's a serious lead," one American official told The Times. "It's an avenue we're investigating."
Some of the most condemning evidence is that Harakat has been very close to Al Qaeda in the past, despite its relationship with ISI.
The killing of Bin Laden by American troops strained the already tenuous relationship between Pakistan and the United States. Findings that confirmed the state agency's support for Bin Laden could prove to be a final breaking point.