The most compelling piece of evidence that the Pakistani government was complicit in the harboring of Osama bin Laden came today in a New York Times report about a cell phone recovered from Osama bin Laden's courier. The phone reveals contacts with Harakat-ul-Mujahadeen, a militant group established by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Making matters worse for Pakistan, longtime affiliates with the ISI told the Times "they were convinced that the ISI played a part in sheltering Bin Laden." As it stands, Pakistan continues to deny any responsibility for providing a sanctuary to bin Laden in Abbottabad and already, the Harakat-ul-Mujahadeen is refuting the Times report, telling the BBC "Al-Qaeda had their own discipline, their own thinking, their own organisation. We have never ever been in touch with Osama." But as they continue to deny, the trail of connections continues to grow.
The connections between bin Laden and Pakistan's intelligence agency has been a question of pressing debate since Navy SEAL's killed him in a raid on his compound. Pakistan's ISI began supporting Afghanistan's mujahedeen insurgency in the 1980s. As the Times piece notes, in the late '90s "Harakat collaborated closely with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, sharing training camps and channeling foreign fighters to Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The group’s leader, Mr. Khalil, was a co-signer of Bin Laden’s 1998 edict ordering attacks against America. The group even organized press trips for journalists to see Bin Laden in Afghanistan before 9/11 and was used to pass messages to him, said Asad Munir, a retired brigadier and former intelligence official."