No direct link between Pakistan authorities and OBL: Panetta

Published: April 3, 2012

US secretary of defence appreciates Pakistan role in the war against terror ‘essential’. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

WASHINGTON: No evidence has been found which directly links the Pakistani authorities and Osama bin Laden’s ability to live and operate within a stone’s throw of one of Pakistan’s most important military installations, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In the interview, the US secretary of defence said that most of the material extracted from the Abbottabad compound – where a unilateral raid was conducted on May 2, 2011 by US Special Forces, killing the al Qaeda leader – had been reviewed and “no direct links” between the Pakistani establishment and Bin Laden were found, the report said.

However, he added: “Well, you know, in these situations sometimes, the leadership within Pakistan is obviously not aware of certain things and yet people lower down in the military establishment know it very well.

They’ve been aware of it.  But the bottom line is that we have not had evidence that provides that direct link.”

Panetta said: “Obviously the concern has always been how a compound like this could operate, how Bin Laden could be in an area where there were military installations, where we could see the military operating.

“But I have not heard any kind of evidence that involved a direct connection to the Pakistanis.”

Talking about Pakistan’s troubled relationship with the US, Panetta said in the interview that relations between the two allies were “complex”.

“It’s a complex relationship.  It always has been and I suspect it always will be.

“In some ways we share a common concern and a common threat.  Terrorism is as much a threat to Pakistan and the people of Pakistan as it is to us and to the people of Afghanistan.  And the fact is that they lost an awful lot of lives because of terrorism.”

Appreciating Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terrorism, the US secretary of defence added: “They continue to conduct military operations against the terrorists.  So in many ways we have common cause.

“We’ve had ups and downs, but my view is it’s an absolutely essential relationship if we’re going to be able to go after the enemy that we’re concerned about,” he said, adding “you can’t really have peace in Afghanistan until you have peace in Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (15)

  • khan
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:35AM

    by next year NATO will start to pull their troops and whatever little leverage we had would be gone. US is waiting us down, as they need us now. Once they leave this area after 12 years they will not only stop all kinds of support including free flow of dollars coming now, on whic we brag abt foreign reserve. Then, all these petty talks will disappear and this country will be taken in the court of justice. Very bleak future in coming years,,

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:40AM

    This is all for comsumption within PAK. It is an effort by the US to reengage PAK so it can accomplish its mission in Afk. PAK better pray the current POTUS wins reelection.

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  • positive pakistani
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:54AM

    of course how would that (evidence of direct links) be found….if reconciliation had to be re-begun.:)Recommend

  • harkol
    Apr 3, 2012 - 11:34AM

    hmm.. Funny…

    An US official had earlier said “Pakistan is addicted to using terror against India”. What he didn’t say was “USA is addicted to winking and nodding at Pakistan’s irresponsible actions”.

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  • usman
    Apr 3, 2012 - 12:51PM

    If some one didn’t understood the meaning of ad nauseum, then this is it. How many times are you going to repeat this statement.

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  • Maureen
    Apr 3, 2012 - 1:22PM

    Now come on Mr. Panetta; how can it be that way????? are you sure you are not looking away….. now now please re look…. I am sure you will find plenty of evidence of Pakistani governmental officials, military, ISI, etc… hand in glove with such criminals

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  • MarkH
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:03PM

    Probable translation: during one of the recent meetings the concern of national image and semi-recent public statements made by influential people was brought up. Though Pakistan gave itself that image, I’m sure many people in the Pakistani government have been blaming the US for it for quite some time.

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  • Parvez
    Apr 3, 2012 - 3:28PM

    OoooK…………now the people are sure there was a link.Recommend

  • Thoughtful
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:35PM

    Clutching at straws Mr. panetta? Looking for chimerical smoking guns? Circumstancial evidence is still powerful.

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  • Thoughtful
    Apr 3, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Mr. Panetta, if this was tried in a court of law, the jury would find circumstancial evidence sufficiently damning.

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  • Abid
    Apr 3, 2012 - 10:42PM

    Come on Mr Panetta, how many time the US will continue to retract from their previous position. It will not come as a surprise one day, may be few years down the ladder, that US accepts that Pakistan faced the actual blunt and the US was wrong in its undue expectations. The way, now, US considers leaving the region back in 1992, a bad decision.

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  • Tony C.
    Apr 3, 2012 - 10:49PM

    @Thoughtful:
    If all the dastardly actions of the government in Washington, over the last ten years, were tried in a Court of Law the U.S. would have to build several new prisons just for war criminals alone. If all the dastardly illegal actions of all the governments in the world were tried for their various misdemeanors the appropriate authorities would need to rent a large island the size of Barbados to house them, and I am reasonably certain the inmates would be complaining about crowded conditions. Abbottabad has turned out to be a public relations disaster for Washington in its dealings with Pakistan, and I think everybody is now downplaying the incident.

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  • saleem islam
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:06AM

    THANK YOU, Mr Panetta;
    we really LOVE and appreciate how you good ol’ folks throw these morsels our way every now and then …
    and we’re SURE you and the set up REALLY, GENUINELY love us, too, don’t you?

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  • Porch Monkey,
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:25AM

    waiting for exit from land of pukhtoons then we gonna see same macaronis….

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Apr 4, 2012 - 6:16AM

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