Did Pakistan know of US raid to kill Osama?

May 2nd, 2011 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf Washington, May 2 (IANS) There was intense speculation Monday on whether the US had kept Islamabad in the know when it decided to stage a daring assault on Pakistan’s Abbotabad city to kill Osama bin Laden.

CNN cited an official as saying that for security reasons, the US did not share intelligence with any other country, including Pakistan.

The official stressed that only a small group of people in the US knew about the operation when it was launched.

The killing and subsequent reactions indicate Pakistan may not have been aware about the US raid to take out the elusive Al Qaeda leader.

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf said he was surprised Osama was in Abbottabad, just a short distance from capital Islamabad.

“It does surprise me. I don’t know the details,” Musharraf told CNN-IBN.

Musharraf, who was the Pakistan president during the 9/11 strike, said the operation by US forces was a “violation of our sovereignty” — an implicit admission that Islamabad did not know about the American raid.

Even Obama hinted in his televised speech announcing the death of Osama that Pakistan, otherwise the US ally in the war on terror, may have been in the dark.

Obama in his speech made it clear they “would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done.

While he said that “it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding”, he underlined that this was an American assault.

Significantly, Obama underlined that he called Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari after Osama was killed.

Similarly, the president said, “my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts” — another indication that the Pakistani intelligence was told about the killing only after the deed was done.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has had deep ties with both the Taliban, which sheltered Osama until 2001, and the Al Qaeda.

As years of hunt for Osama yielded nothing, many in the US began to suspect and even accuse the ISI of sheltering the man they were desperately looking for.

Ties between the US and Pakistan turned sour after American operative Raymond Davis shot dead two Pakistani men in Lahore in January this year.

In a bid to improve the strained ties, Pakistani spy master Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha flew to Washington in April to meet CIA director Leon Panetta.

But Pakistani officials kept insisting that Osama was not in Pakistan. That was until Monday.

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