Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani has admitted facilitating the stationing of American special operations and intelligence personnel on Pakistani soil and forging links that eventually allowed Washington to carry out the raid in Abbottabad to eliminate Osama bin Laden.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Haqqani also indicated that while Islamabad was ‘officially kept out of the loop’, the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government was aware of both the developments.
Haqqani’s piece – titled “Yes, the Russian ambassador met Trump’s team. So? That’s what we diplomats do” – was aimed at illustrating that it is an established practice for envoys to meet with representatives for various political factions in the run-up to elections in the country they are stationed in.
However, in trying to justify the meeting of the Russian envoy in Washington with members of Donald Trump’s team, the former Pakistani envoy has raised questions over his role and that of the PPP in the May 2, 2011 raid.
“The relationships I forged with members of Obama’s campaign team led to closer cooperation between Pakistan and the US in fighting terrorism over the three and a half years I served as ambassador,” Haqqani wrote in the article. “These connections eventually enabled the US to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military,” he said. The former envoy added that the “friends I made from the Obama campaign were able to ask, three years later, as National Security Council officials, for help in stationing US Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan.”
“I brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved. Although the US kept us officially out of the loop about the operation, these locally stationed Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to send in Navy SEAL Team 6 without notifying Pakistan,” he wrote further.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2017.