Pakistan: No Formal Request From U.S. for Access to Bin Laden Wives

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. has yet to formally request access to relatives of Usama bin Laden, including his three wives, Pakistan's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

"The ministry of foreign affairs has not received a formal request from the United States," foreign ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua was quoted as saying by AFP.

She also said no extradition requests had been received from the countries of origin of bin Laden's three wives -- Yemen and Saudi Arabia -- following the U.S. Navy SEALs' raid on the Al Qaeda leader's hideout in Abbottabad.

Washington is keen to question bin Laden's three wives, who are being held by Pakistani authorities, as they seek to learn more about the global terror network and bin Laden's activities. It was widely reported Tuesday that Pakistan was close to granting the U.S. permission.

Meanwhile, new details about the raid in the garrison town 40 miles from the Pakistani capital continued to emerge Tuesday.

More On This...

    The New York Times reported that the team sent in to deal with bin Laden was authorized to shoot its way out of trouble if hindered by Pakistani security forces.

    President Barack Obama increased the size of team so that it could confront Pakistani police and military if they tried to stop the mission, the report said.

    "Their instructions were to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it," the report quoted a senior Obama administration official as saying.

    The White House said Monday it offered "no apologies" for the surprise raid on Pakistani soil despite Islamabad's complaints and threats to "retaliate with full force" against any future attack.

    Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that ten years ago, then President George W. Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had an understanding that would allow the U.S. to make a unilateral raid inside Pakistan to find bin Laden, with Pakistan then expected to heatedly protest after the fact.