Charles Homans in Foreign Policy:
Foreign Policy: Where were you when you heard about the 9/11 attacks?
EH: On 9/11 I was co-commander in Peshawar, with responsibility for the western border with Afghanistan and security in the tribal areas of Pakistan and our northwestern province, what is now called Khyber-PK. And of course, it was shocking news for everybody — it was for me personally. And I didn’t realize how much it would impact on my personal life, how the world would change, how Pakistan would change.
FP: From there to the end of your tenure in 2007, what was your understanding or suspicion of where bin Laden was?
Ehsan ul-Haq: I was asked [to take over as lead of IS] on Oct. 7, 2001, when the bombing of Kabul began … Of course, our awareness of al Qaeda at that stage was very limited because al Qaeda was not operating in Afghanistan — it was an Arab phenomenon. Yes, it was transiting through Pakistan and Iran and other countries, but since they had not really operated in Pakistan, so we were not much aware of its dimensions, its role, its intentions, its objectives-these were things that were new to us, and it took time for us to really reconcile with it. But very quickly, we did achieve very substantial successes and close cooperation with other intelligence services, particularly the CIA.
As far as Osama bin Laden is concerned, frankly speaking, after Tora Bora we only heard the information that was shared with us at the time. After that, there were never any authentic reports on Osama bin Laden until his killing in Abbottabad. More: