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Bin Laden Killing Puts Pakistan On The Spot

By Abubakar Siddique
Afghans, Pakistanis React To Bin Laden's Deathi
May 02, 2011
People in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar had mixed reactions to the news that Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. operation near Islamabad. Video by Reuters

WATCH: Afghans, Pakistanis react to bin Laden's death.

The nearly decade-long hunt for the world's most-wanted man has ended. But the death of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in the early hours of May 2 has put the spotlight on Pakistan, the place of his ultimate demise.

A team of U.S. forces killed bin Laden not in a remote region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but in Abbottabad, a large Pakistani city about 60 kilometers north of the capital.

The helicopter raid and conclusive firefight took place in a recently built and heavily fortified compound just a stone's throw from the country's top military academy where, only two weeks earlier, Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani said the military had broken the back of terrorists.
For the latest on the bin Laden story, follow RFE/RL's Pakistani and Afghan journalists on Twitter at @GandharaRFE


And the operation was carried out without notifying Islamabad beforehand, adding to the long list of questions being raised about the West's trust in its ally in the war in terror.

Farzana Shaikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, characterized reports that Washington did not notify Pakistan about the operation beforehand as significant.

Recalling accusations U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made in July, in which she claimed Pakistani officials were withholding information about bin Laden's whereabouts, Shaikh says the issue was "a great source of mistrust" between the increasingly belligerent allies.

"It is almost unquestionably going to deepen suspicion and confirm people's worst fears about Pakistan's complicity," he says, "particularly the complicity of its military and intelligence services, in protecting bin Laden."

Cause For Concern

Officially, Pakistan praised the development.

"Osama bin Laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community, including Pakistan, to fight and eliminate terrorism," read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on May 2. "It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world."

Former Pakistani Brigadier General Saad Muhammad, speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, notes that U.S. President Barack Obama hinted at some level of cooperation from Islamabad. But if the Pakistani security agencies did not, in fact, know that bin Laden was on Pakistani territory, he said, it is cause for concern.

"If Pakistan didn't know about his presence, then it is a bad omen," Muhammad says. "It will raise questions about the ability of the Pakistani intelligence agencies. How can they not know about somebody living in a [peaceful] municipal area so close to the military garrison?"

Credibility Harmed

Pakistani civilian and military leaders had strongly ruled out the possibility of bin Laden's presence there for nearly a decade, and his killing on Pakistani soil has already harmed its credibility in the region. The leaders of both Afghanistan and India pointed to bin Laden's killing as evidence of their long-standing concerns about Pakistan being a sanctuary for terrorists.

"We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which President Obama said that the firefight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbottabad 'deep inside Pakistan,'" Indian Home Minister P. Chidambram said in a statement posted on the ministry's website. "This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organizations find sanctuary in Pakistan."

In Kabul, President Hamid Karzai, without naming Afghanistan's eastern neighbor, said the killing of bin Laden buttressed his argument that the West fight its war against terrorism in places where terrorists have sanctuary.

"The world must know, as we have said repeatedly over the years, almost every day, that the war on terrorism should not be fought in the villages of Afghanistan," Karzai said. "The war against terrorism should not be fought in homes of oppressed Afghans and cannot be won by bombing innocent women and children of Afghanistan. The war on terror should be fought in the sanctuaries, the hubs and the recruiting centers of terrorists. Today it's been proved that it's like that."

'Uptick In Violence'

Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid says that the killing of bin Laden will have immediate repercussions for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. He says Al-Qaeda and allied extremists might target Pakistani, Afghan, and intentional forces in neighboring countries, while Al-Qaeda affiliates such as the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Taiba might launch attacks in India to divert attention from the main theater in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New Delhi and Washington accuse Lashkar-e Taiba of being behind the 2008 attacks in the Indian commercial capital, Mumbai, that killed 160 people.

"I fear very much that there can be an uptick in violence in the region," Rashid says. "And, of course, it can be followed by suicide attacks elsewhere in Europe and the United States. There will be revenge attacks."

RFE/RL Radio Mashaal's Shaheen Buneri contributed to this report
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: USq
May 02, 2011 14:44
It was obvious Pakistan provided protection to bin Laden. It is also clear US officials knew about it for a long time. The real question is, how much involvement US government itself had in covering up for bin Laden, and how much involvement US government had in 9/11 attacks. The facts are:
1. former president bush has been warned about pending attack 1 month before 9/11. The warning was so specific that it only left out the exact time and place. Bush deliberately chose to ignore the warning and called Pakistan US ally. On the second day after 9/11 attach Bush called Islam a "religion of peace".
2. US senator John McCain called Pakistan a major US ally in a "war on terror", all at the same time as Pakistani government was building a compound to house bin Laden near Islamabad.
3. Jew-controlled US government bombed and killed Christians in Bosnia and in Kosovo and in Serbia, while supplying muslim terrorists with weapons and inciting them to further violence against Christians.
4. Jew-controlled US government considers Saudi Arabia its major ally besides Israel, perfectly knowing Saudi Arabia is the main sponsor and financier of muslim terrorists around the world.
5. US government is now bombing Gaddafi forces to protect Al Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in the east of Lybia
6. US and its satellite Britain provide asylum to Chechen muslim terrorists including Zakaev and others.
The facts go on and on ..
In Response

by: duh from: kansas city, kansas
May 02, 2011 17:33
are you effing kidding me
In Response

by: Ollie North fan from: Squaresville
May 02, 2011 22:07
Okay Jack, one step at a time.
1. It was a general warning, no specifics. Even if the Gov had known it was hijacked aircraft, what do you do? Think of the logistics here. Would you shut down the entire airline industry and for how long? If you shutdown US flights, why wouldn't they hijack Euro/Asian/Cent Am flights to use?

2. Have you ever heard of political double-speak. What politicians say and what they believe can be two different things. Stop being so damn naive.

3. Oh, here come the anti-Jewish comments. Now you are really showing your colors. While I was no fan of the action in Serbia, you do realize that allies affiliations change throughout history don't you?

4. Again with the Jews. Are you with the KKK or Aryan Army or something dude?

5. I agree with this to a point. The Brotherhood should not be assisted in either Egypt, Libya, Syria etc, nor AQiM.

6. The Caucasus is a very complex area and was so during the 90's. One day a victim is the next day's oppressor. Heck, we have seen that in Libya and the Ivory Coast during the past few weeks.
It is really easy to offer criticism after an action goes on, but remember, the leaders have a hell of a lot more intel at their disposal than you.
In Response

by: Eugene from: Melbourne, AUS
May 03, 2011 00:28
Yes Jack - its a complex world, but you give authorities WAY too much credibility if you think they could hold all that together as some sort of overarching evil master plan. Still - keep up the rampant speculation - its comedy festival here in Melbourne.

by: Lisa from: USAo
May 02, 2011 19:58
My concerns are retaliation and that with this retaliation we have provided several people again the ammunition and means to do so. We are greatly a nation United Under God for Love Peace and Not War. We will defend our country. But as other nations look at this event remember we are always the country looked at for help when a catastrophe happens in the world. Please remember USA is a nation of all walks of life. My family is from Norway, Franch, Canda, Native American and German. But I am and 2-3 generations of my family were born in USA. Don't Hate.

by: david from: indianapolis
May 02, 2011 23:55
suddenly the head of the snake is gone,will there be retaliatory strikes? i believe that is a foregone reality. having said that,we cannot stop the pressure put on alqueda an d its splinter factions. the world powers at be have them on the ropes,hopefully the intel we received at the compound will lead to futher capture or killing other leaders of the group. by no means should any country become complacent in the battle against these organizations.this could very well embolden these organizations to show that we might have have gotten rid of the "ceo"but someone will take his place. i am quite sure he has groomed some one to take over in the event of his capture or death.this organization has'nt been around for over 2 decades for the lack of planning or organization.

by: Bob Marshall from: South Carolina
May 03, 2011 01:26
i wish every American would watch a DVD called Why we fight from Netflix. Ask yourself how Bush could have seen the first plane hit the tower on Television while in a grammar school in Florida when it wasn't televised until later that day. Hmm!!! Why were the plane normally in the air overhead sent north to a mock attack of a Russian air invasion? Why did the government lie about Flight 93 being shot down by Us fighters for so long. What about the NY Firefighter who when interviewed stated they heard explosions on the lower floors just before the twin towers fell? What bought down the third building . It fell in the same way as the twin towers. I guess it doesn't matter to the average American You got revenge by destroying a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Iraqi civilians killed-949,474 47% of the children in Iraq became orphans. not forgetting almost 4,000 American young men and women killed and many more wounded. We have become puppets of our government. The new says it so it must be true. Surely, our president wouldn't lie to us. People wake up. learn about The Trilateral Commission, The Bilderberg Group, The PNAC, The CFR and of course The CIA and why is is responsible for 6,000,000+ deaths from 1947-1998. Read about El Mozote if you have a strong stomach. We have been conditioned. we were lied to about Vietnam, Iraq and what else. we were lied to about the bailout. How it would destroy the economy. All it did was make a lot of Corporations and Bank CEO's richer while Americans were losing stock and their homes. i may have misspelled a few words but the truth is all here. we need to hold our elected officials accountable. Tell congress to get rid of the Federal Reserve. i don't want to see one more American die for big oil or Corporate America. Halliburton has almost every government contract. Cheney. Does that name ring a bell? Guess who pays for 180,00+ contractors. The US taxpayer. It is one thing to be a patriot, It is another to allow injustice to reign. Thanks for allowing me to state some facts i have found through research. The internet can be a wonderful tool.

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