US prepared to replicate Bin Laden raid: Obama

Published: May 23, 2011
Obama indicates that US would conduct similar Abbottabad raid if another militant is found in Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Obama indicates that US would conduct similar Abbottabad raid if another militant is found in Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Amid straining Pakistan-US relations, President Barack Obama has said that he would order an operation similar to that which killed al Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden if another militant leader was found in Pakistan.

In an interview with BBC, Obama said that the US was mindful of Pakistan’s sovereignty but added that the US could not allow “active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action.”

President Obama had approved the May 2 top-secret commando raid in Abbottabad that had ended the decade-long manhunt for America’s enemy No 1. CIA chief Leon Panetta had said that Pakistan was kept in the dark about the raid because they feared telling Islamabad could have “jeopardised the mission.”

Pakistan’s parliament condemned earlier this month the “unilateral” operation in a special closed-door session and said that Islamabad would “no longer tolerate such actions and a repeat of unilateral measures could have dire consequences for peace and  security in the region and the world”.

Asked if he would do the same if the country discovered another “high-value target” in Pakistan or elsewhere, President Obama said he would “take the shot” since the administration’s job was to “secure the US”.

“We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies’ people, we can’t allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action,” said Obama. “I had made no secret. I had said this when I was running for the presidency, that if I had a clear shot at bin Laden, that we’d take it.”

President Obama conceded in his Sunday interview that the Abbottabad raid was a calculated risk – and insisted he would seek closer cooperation with Islamabad.

“It could’ve gone worse,” said Obama. “Part of the reason that I was able to take that calculated risk was an awareness – number one – of how well they prepared, how well we had staked out what the compound was like. It was set back from a large portion of the neighbourhood there. We felt that we could get in and out relatively quickly.

The discovery that Bin Laden had been living in a garrison city embarrassed the Pakistani military and led to renewed suspicions that the al Qaeda godfather had some “support network” in Pakistan – a charge strongly denied by Islamabad.

But President Obama said Pakistan’s cooperation has been key for the success the US has achieved in tracking down and killing terrorists. “We’ve killed more terrorists on Pakistani soil than anywhere else, and that could not have been done without their cooperation.

“But there’s more work to do. And my expectation is that over the coming months, this can be a wake-up call where we start seeing a more effective cooperative relationship.”

The interview was conducted last Thursday at the White House, ahead of Obama’s European tour this week. He flies into Ireland on Monday and will also visit Britain, France and Poland.

US officials have described Bin Laden’s killing as potentially “a game-changing opportunity” in Afghanistan where over 130,000 US-led Nato troops have been battling a deadly Taliban insurgency since 2001.

President Obama said that while the Afghan conflict could not be solved militarily, raising troop levels had put the Taliban “back on its heels” in a way that could facilitate the brokering of a political reconciliation.

“Ultimately it means talking to the Taliban,” he said, adding that the “Taliban would have to cut all ties to al Qaeda, renounce violence and they would have to respect the Afghan constitution”.

Afghan presidential spokesman Waheed Omar welcomed this suggestion, saying it reflected Kabul’s long-held view. “We’re glad that we now have clear words from the president of the United States about it,” Omar told the BBC.

Agencies with additional input from BBC

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (58)

  • Watchman
    May 22, 2011 - 11:33AM

    And yesterday our PM said that US wont repeat it and asked China also request them not to.. what a topi drama.. lol..

  • Roamer
    May 22, 2011 - 11:53AM

    No wonder so many people in the world hate Americans and their thought process …. by taking actions like these they are creating more enemies !!Recommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Friends, first do not host terrorists on your soil by donating sovereignty to them.
    Second, if you are master of your mother land do not expect all weather friends
    manage your mother land manage yourself please.Be realistic.There is no way
    of transferring sovereignty without surrendering.Learn for once to be self
    -Kulamarva Balakrishna Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 22, 2011 - 12:07PM

    I am proud of you my dear president. You know how to deal with Pakistani army and ISI. They are all bark and no bite. You are a real patriot for our country not like Pakistani army.

    Mirza, USARecommend

  • Usama Najeeb
    May 22, 2011 - 12:17PM

    and i am pretty sure that AS and WHEN US wants,,it will hold the raid again on PAKISTANI SOIL by once again staging the DRAMA of being suspicious of another terrorist on OUR LAND(PAKISTAN)………and then………no proof,,no evidence,,nothing… fact US doesnt recognize us(PAKISTANIS) for even providing FULL EVIDENCE…as happened in case of OBL…




  • Ahmer Ali
    May 22, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.The most dangerous and hazardous threat once again from US president Obama for the violation of Pakistan’s and its nation’s sovereignty and integrity and US president can definitely say so because Pakistani beggars,corrupt and slaves leaders have made Pakistan totally dependent country on US aid and US’ colony.It has been extremely and completely impossible to understand for the nation especially common man that why our leaders are just protesting and appealing verbally instead of taking action?Recommend

  • Rohail
    May 22, 2011 - 1:00PM

    A good statement. We, the good and civilized people of Pakistan, totally support the U.S Government,Recommend

  • san
    May 22, 2011 - 1:04PM

    could you kindly cleanise all saudi funded maddrassa’s.Recommend

  • Explorer
    May 22, 2011 - 2:06PM

    “Yes, we will’, said Obama. “No, back off”, cried Pasha. One of them is tilting at the windmills.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 22, 2011 - 2:16PM

    He ( OUR RESPECTED PM) was day dreamingRecommend

  • Munzir
    May 22, 2011 - 2:39PM

    This is a nation’s president, not like ours who only needs money even on the cost of blood sheds in Pakistan. In most of the news we usually read clarification statements from ISI or from ISPR but never read a statement US to explain why this was happened in Pakistan. We have no dum. our govern is a puppet. We were happy with Musharraf at least he has enough courage to reply on such occasions.Recommend

  • Sameer Usmani
    May 22, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Wow, i am amazed at the disgraceful statement u gave, kindly let me tell u that the people u mentioned as ‘we’ the ‘civilized & whatever’ people are living in an aquarium of self praise and nothing more than that ! People possessing such mentality are a mere minority or may I say are in this country like ammonia is in natural air, i.e. negligible amount !Recommend

  • irfan
    May 22, 2011 - 2:49PM

    i foresee a US invasion of Pakistan as a part of war on terror… “Act or let us act” logic…Recommend

  • Sobriquet
    May 22, 2011 - 2:55PM

    @Watchman: Although begging can lead to a cumulative benefit, a ‘please’ by Pakistan, coupled with a ‘please’ by China has zero value. China might look like a big daddy to Pakistan, but for the US it is a replaceable low-cost manufacturer whom they pay with credit notes. Recommend

  • Azeem Anwer
    May 22, 2011 - 2:57PM

    This proves that “Once baighart is always baigharat” Recommend

  • saleem khan
    May 22, 2011 - 3:16PM

    Dear Obama, till the time we are keeping these safe heavens please don’t abandon these innocent people of Pakistan at the mercy of Terrorists. Till the time our Army has this policy of strategic depth, please do have an eye on these terrorists. The innocent people of Pakistan are with you.Recommend

  • Salman Zafar
    May 22, 2011 - 3:27PM

    Yes please. Come straight in.
    Our radars (if working) will be all yours.Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 22, 2011 - 3:28PM

    No offense – but I am inclined to believe Obama more than the PM who said that the USA would not conduct another raid.Recommend

  • wah wah
    May 22, 2011 - 3:31PM

    i propose another dharna… Recommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 3:47PM

    We should get the terrorists before the Americans get here. Terrorists on Pakistani soil are violating our soverignty as well you know.Recommend

  • Ali
    May 22, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @ Mirza
    either you should not criticize Pakistan and its policies how crude and pathetic they are or you should not cherish your love for the country of green cards. its people like you who have nothing else to say but sitting in USA and criticizing whatever is going on in pakistan.come here and contribute instead of beating the bush sir green cardRecommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 4:42PM

    Pakistan Justice Forum (PJF) has demanded that Pakistani police must register legal cases against the US war criminals and a Pak court of law must issue arrest warrants for the arrest of Barack Obama, Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, US Navy Seals, US JSOC mercenaries and US CIA agents who murdered innocent Pakistanis during the US military May 2 attack on a home of Pakistanis in Abbottabad. Pakistani advocates must file lawsuits against these American war criminals.Recommend

  • Ben
    May 22, 2011 - 4:49PM

    Militant leader or no leader, he can even land his occupation army in Pakistan. This is what is the plan of the Project for New American Century (PNAC). The first step was to discredit Pakistan’s security establishment. Everybody knows this except Pakistan’s opportunist politicians and immature media anchors.Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 22, 2011 - 5:00PM

    @kulamarva balakrishna:
    You have the impression that Pakistan is surviving on Aids. But it is not so, no one is willing India, Israel or even USA to see Pakistan survived. To whom you are called terrorist country, will they pay for its survival? USA is just diverting Pakistan’s attention from India, otherwise Pakistani bombs, made for India, are getting corroded. One more thing, never think Pakistan was defeated in 1971 in case of East Pakistan. Actually Pakistan never fought with India rather surrendered for some good reasons.Recommend

  • Yousaf
    May 22, 2011 - 5:21PM

    Yet, another tight slap on our injured FACE!! Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 22, 2011 - 5:23PM

    Just think why President Obama is so vocal in calling that he will do it again for safety of his people at this time? To declare that, He will do it again on BBC running as first news,is simply a DECLARATION, which sounds very strange and dangerous, as well as visualizing an equal threat to USA.Recommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 5:40PM

    When you give your subsconscious the message “I can’t,” your subconscious really believes you and registers on its computer: WEAK… WEAK… WEAK…Recommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 5:41PM

    And now that time us army go back with shutter slap,…who do a mission in Pakistan “US navy seals” yeah yeah a 29th position in international competition and show that they are here …..suddenly not….they are successful due to just our Dame Govt. they Don’t allowed our SSG commandos Got 1st position in international competition…Fault is just in our Dame Govt Otherwise we tore these americans in little bloody pieces…our air force is ready But “PN” not PM its “PN” say stop! My Govt seat in danger…Oooo its sad God give Us Courage time and courage for fight against terrorist Like USA and Zoin.Recommend

  • Aamir
    May 22, 2011 - 5:44PM

    All high ups have taken so much ‘Namak’ from US that they are bound to act as ‘Namak Halal’. But they forgot that they owe something to this land. The reality is that our traitors have already reserved their palaces and appartments and setup their businesses abroad. They are here to finaly disintegrate and sell Pakistan for some dollars. They cannot live forever and they will pay the price of their wrong doings. The people of Pakistan will rise and crush these agents.Recommend

  • Chotta Chetan
    May 22, 2011 - 5:52PM

    China will help…Recommend

  • Shock horror
    May 22, 2011 - 6:13PM

    And, for some obscure reason, surrendered 85000 strong Pakistani army. You clearly live in a delusional world.Recommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 6:17PM

    I am proud of Mr. Obama. He did a great job. After Laden’s death his followers wont sit like that. Definitely they will attack. They will take the revenge. Before starting their attacks, we have to do something to stop all those plans. I agree with the President of America. Hat-of- to you Mr. Obama. You did a great job in Bin Laden’s case. All the best for your next plan. Recommend

  • pardesiinsaan
    May 22, 2011 - 6:22PM

    Its about time that the government of Pakistan should treat Obama the same way as the Israeli’s did. Tell him you repeat this and in the process you are caught you will have a fire fight and all supplies to Nato shut down. Take it or leave it. Stop begging to USA need to say to them get lost and say it now.Recommend

  • Qurban Ali
    May 22, 2011 - 6:27PM

    Pride has a fallRecommend

  • May 22, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Asalam Masalekum Kazmis guru. You get a Sacher Torte when you visit me.Pakistan did
    not fight with India three plus times but went on shrinking. It is now set to survive by lending
    its own life to terrorists and whatever left over to China as gift material resources for socialist
    reconstruction of China. I join you in five times a day Namaz!!!!!
    Kulamarva Balakrishna Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    May 22, 2011 - 7:01PM

    A mulatto caeser speaks to his subjects and reminds his Tribunes and Viceroys to act in the
    manner expected of a Roman.Recommend

  • meekal ahmed
    May 22, 2011 - 8:26PM

    You need to improve your English. AIDS is not the same thing as AID.

    As for my views, if you continue to harbor them, and they plot against the US, what do you expect Obama to say? Recommend

  • Eric Kumar
    May 22, 2011 - 8:27PM

    No matter U.S. has no right to go to other country and invade but other country has no right to give shelter, food and prtotection to a known terrorist who openly challange other country. This known terrorist is sitting next to country’s army’s head quarters. If a person who challange’s safety of my family as a man of certain princples and self respect I will go and take care of that evil right at his place of protection. I believe even Pakistani’s would do that too if some person try to harm it’s people and land of Pakistan. President of United State has duty, obligation and responsibilty to prtect it’s citizens . That’s its mandate. Recommend

  • ram
    May 22, 2011 - 8:44PM

    US is doing it because Pakistan is not taking actions. Though majority of Pakistanis are peace loving people, some of them (in ISI/Army) patronize terrorism. This had made US not to trust any one resulting unilateral actions. From Obama’s statement, it is clear that US still does not trust any one in Pakistan. US thinks that their funding Pakistan gives them an upper hand Recommend

  • Hedingen
    May 22, 2011 - 8:45PM

    @ Khalid Rahim:

    Wow this is racismRecommend

  • Peace On Earth
    May 22, 2011 - 10:42PM

    Where does the Tribune get its sources from? I have looked through all the major media outlets in America and was not able to find a single article that mentioned this! Is the Tribune making things up now or what?

    Anyways, I would not mind if the US went around hunting down terrorists. At least the Americans are willing to engage the enemy unlike the Pakistani Army which is too busy playing golf or staring at Indian soldiers across the L.O.C.Recommend

  • Wzup
    May 22, 2011 - 11:12PM

    @Kazmis: You keep on thinking that you are the man. Recommend

  • the great khan
    May 23, 2011 - 12:16AM

    inshahallah our good friend china will help us this time.we will shoot down their choppers with chinese aircraft we r getting.Recommend

  • Arindom
    May 23, 2011 - 6:17AM

    Looks like Strategic Depth policy is fast becoming Strategic Nightmare!Recommend

  • Michelle
    May 23, 2011 - 8:15AM

    @Peace On Earth:
    Take a look at the BBC website. It was on the front page that Obama said he would take unilateral action again if necessary. USA Today also has a story on it and many other sites/sources.Recommend

  • May 23, 2011 - 8:34AM

    Teleprompter’s War on Pakistan must stop.Recommend

  • Sameer
    May 23, 2011 - 10:07AM

    Keep dreaming boys n girls, Choor Awam, DAKOO Hukumram, Welcome to Pakistan…..but phir bhee we love Pakistan,,,,,,,What a patriotrism…..keep it up…Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    May 23, 2011 - 10:21AM

    No one will help us but ourselves. We are highly capable of handing our issues. But unfortunately, we have lost the will and for this reason have have wolves running our state.Recommend

  • May 23, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Fascists rule the USA, they believe in endless war and total war.Recommend

  • May 23, 2011 - 11:21AM

    @ Rohail – actually the root cause of all terrorism is USA….they r fighting since 2011 by the killing of only 2800 people except jews – and till now they had killed 300000 people inlcuding Iraq Afghanistan and Pakistan…..for the sake of Osama….Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 23, 2011 - 5:48PM

    @Shock horror:
    Yes 93000 surrendered. In war strategy “Never defense those areas which you can not defend “. That is the reason Pakistan Army is still intact and ready to fight India. Md Indra gandhi was inexperienced and she could not destroy Pak Army at that time. Cutting a small part is nothing important, Pak army will take a bigger slice of the cake. Inshallah.Recommend

    May 23, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Pakistan must behave like a responsible nation. Its complicity with the terrorists organistion is a open secret whereas US and India are the biggest victims of this association. Therefore US being a super-power has made its position very clear to Pakistan on this issue and the day is not far when situation goes out of hand in this country there may be a unilateral action against it by the West including India. Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 23, 2011 - 11:35PM

    I never wrote anything against the poor masses of Pakistan. I have no idea about what green card are you talking about, and why personal attack? I am a proud citizen of two countries, whether you like it or not. My family has been helping lot of good causes and organizations in Pakistan. In fact we do work in other Asian countries as well. This page is for political and not for personal promotion, hence I am not giving any details. There are lots of good things in Pakistan including the now free press, Abdul Sattar Edhi and his wife, to name a couple.

    Unless you have knowledge about a person or an issue, please do not put anything in writing. Being a research scientist all my working life I have learned truth only. I am not upset as I am fully aware of Pakistani culture, I am advising you as an older man. Last but not the least I would not stop telling the truth, no matter what. Recommend

  • Ali
    May 24, 2011 - 1:31AM

    i wish u were aware of pakistani culture.but sitting at thousand miles apart sir your criticism and hatred speak volumes.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 24, 2011 - 11:35AM

    @Chotta Chetan:
    Wishful thinking !!!!Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    May 25, 2011 - 2:51PM

    The intension of .Mazari through an article appeared in a blog called wonders of Pakistan, is clear that she wants to creat a rift between upper and lower ranks of the Pak army instead of demanding an all out attack on the Al- quaida linked groups operating in the country he is pointing finger towards US and India . Pak govt. should make Majaar of such Taliban think tank at the earliest otherwise Obama will enter again and Chacha China will celeberate in Xinjiang .Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    May 25, 2011 - 10:30PM

    Yes , Pakistani , but the said 30 thousand is an out dated data .Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jun 21, 2011 - 1:55PM

    Take a stand….be partriotic… clean…upright,honest & self-less leaders….not corrupt…& then we can stand up to the Americans….it is mind boggling to understand…why this U turn happened & all things exposed in this 3 years….?? that means we had better control over the issues then…?? but I thought & expected better results from a democratic elected govt….?? who cud roll-back all the supposedly wrong MOUs done by a ” dictator “….because there is ” disconnection ” between the so-called elected MPs & the people.We hv some very basic reasons for ” democracy ” not being able to sustain in the present circumstances…for which deep analysis is necessay….without which no institution will flourish & the poor will get poorer.Recommend

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