Former United States President Barack Obama dismissed the conjecture that Islamabad was aware of the presence of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Obama made the statement during a question and answer session following his address at the 15th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Hyatt Regency in New Delhi.
“We had no evidence that Pakistani government was aware of Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad,” he confirmed. “We obviously looked at it.”
Obama said Islamabad “has been a partner in many ways”, but added that it was also true that “there are elements that have not been good partners” with the US. However, he refused to name the elements.
Bin Laden had no help from state elements in Pakistan: CIA files
The former US president jokingly warned the audience to not make up statements for him. “It is very important for you to stop making comments from my side.”
Since the 2011 secret raid by US Special Forces at Laden’s compound near the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul in Abbottabad in May 2, 2011, there has been much speculation whether he had support from within the Pakistani security establishment to hide at stone’s throw from a top military academy.
CIA releases massive new tranche of materials seized in 2011 bin Laden raid
However, when America’s Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] rummaged through a treasure trove of documents seized from Bin Laden’s compound it couldn’t find anything that might suggest the world’s most wanted terrorist had any support from the establishment.
Speaking on terrorism at the HT summit, the former US president recalled that his country was “as obsessed with dismantling the terror network as India" after the Mumbai attacks.
“Terrorism of any sort, directed at any country metastasizes. It eventually affects everyone,” he emphasised.
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