US warned Pakistan it would come to get Bin Laden: US officials

US official says there was an "understanding" that amounted to acknowledgement for unilateral action.


Reuters May 11, 2011

WASHINGTON: The United States repeatedly told Pakistan that Washington would send American forces into that country if it had evidence that Osama bin Laden was hiding there, according to current and former US officials.

The message that the United States would not hesitate to send American operatives into Pakistan to get Bin Laden was transmitted to top Pakistani officials on multiple occasions by the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, said a US national security official who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information.

A former senior US counter-terrorism official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was an "understanding" between Washington and Islamabad that amounted to an acknowledgment by Pakistani authorities that the United States would take unilateral action on Pakistani soil if it had intelligence on the al Qaeda leader's whereabouts.

The current US official said the message that the United States would dispatch forces to go after bin Laden if it found him in Pakistan was repeatedly passed on to Pakistani authorities so that, at a minimum, Islamabad should have had no illusions about the US position.

The already-strained relations between Pakistan and the United States became even more tense following the US commando raid this month that killed Bin Laden at a compound near Pakistan's principal military academy.

On Monday, Britain's Guardian newspaper, in a report from Islamabad, said the United States and Pakistan nearly a decade ago "struck a secret deal" in which Pakistan would allow American forces to conduct a raid inside Pakistan in search of Bin Laden, his deputy or al Qaeda operational commanders. The Guardian said that as part of the agreement Pakistan would vociferously protest in public any such US incursion. The newspaper said the pact was struck between Bush and General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military leader at the time.

Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, quoted a spokesman for Musharraf as saying the former leader denied striking any agreement with the United States regarding operations to capture or kill Bin Laden. Musharraf spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told the newspaper that claims of such a deal were baseless and no written or verbal agreement existed between Bush and Musharraf about what the United States would do if it found Bin Laden in Pakistan.

The former US official said that while he believed Pakistan was well aware of US intentions, to his knowledge whatever understanding was reached between Washington and Islamabad was never put in writing.

COMMENTS (23)

BruteForce | 10 years ago | Reply @Maria: "They have yet to allow free and fair elections or a referendum in occupied Kashmir. " Stop reading the Urdu Newspapers for a while. Agencies such as UN send their representatives to monitor elections in each Country to make sure they are free and fair. That fact hasn't changed. Not only UN, US and EU too send their representatives and Media to cover the elections in India. There was 78% turnout for the panchayat elections held last month and more than 60% turned out for the Assembly and Parliamentary elections in Kashmir! http://www.sify.com/news/high-voter-turnout-marks-peaceful-kashmir-panchayat-polls-news-national-lent48cigjf.html http://news24online.com/ViewDetails.aspx?NewsID=14428 All this was amid call for poll boycott by the Separatists, whom Pakistan trusts as the sole representatives of Jammu and Kashmir. The folly here is these guys have NEVER won an election and Pakistan, in its infinite wisdom, thinks they have the majority support.
Chacha | 10 years ago | Reply @Maria: Agree we have not allowed a referendum on cessation. But free and fair elections are happening at all levels of governement of Kashmir - state, district and village. The recent village level elections (called Panchayat elections) have been lauded by all including the Kashmiris. Not even the most die hard of anti -Indian kashmiri politicians have disputed the results or the 80% voter turnout Yes there is repression in kashmir, I do not deny that. However we do have a semblance of self governance in kashmir within the framework of the Indian constitution. Can the same be said about so called "Azad kashmir", FATA or SWAT ? I agree on one point though with you - without the nuclear sheild, india will walk over you. Before Mumbai 26/11 that was debateable. But after Mumbai, one billion Indians turned against Pakistan. Whether right or wrong, they see Paksitan as the agressor and the direct architect of it. Maybe you are right. Maybe this is all a trap. But if you play chess you would know that falling into a trap is not an enemy's fault, it is your own !
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