Pakistan's Zardari Says Bin Laden Raid Was Not Joint Operation
May 03, 2011
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces was not a joint operation with Pakistan.
In an article in "The Washington Post," Zardari also said the whereabouts of the Al-Qaeda leader, who was killed in a town about 60 kilometers north of Islamabad, was not known to the Pakistani authorities.
Zardari said while not a joint operation, "a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world."
U.S. officials have admitted that they had not informed Pakistan of the operation until after it was over and all the U.S. Special Operations Forces involved in the raid had left Pakistani airspace.
But U.S. President Barack Obama has said Pakistani security officials had helped "lead us to bin Laden" and he thanked President Zardari for the cooperation.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that message, saying that cooperation with Islamabad "helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding."
But the question of whether Pakistan knew that bin Laden was holed up in the compound is being asked across Washington. At a press conference, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Representative Mike Rogers (Republican-Michigan), said he had questions for Islamabad.
"I don't want to speculate if [the Pakistan government] did or they did not [know bin Laden was in the compound]," Rogers said. "We're going to ask those questions, I think Americans have the right to know that, I would like to know what they knew."
National security adviser John Brennan also alluded to doubts about whether Pakistani officials protected bin Laden as he spoke about the intelligence trail that led U.S. officials to the large house in an Islamabad suburb.
"People have been referring to this as hiding in plain sight. Clearly, this was something that was considered as a possibility. Pakistan is a large country," Brennan said.
"We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system within Pakistan that allowed him to stay there."
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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