Pakistan-US relations: Fearing fallout, US ‘delayed’ Bin Laden raid

ISI translated courier’s message into Arabic for the CIA, which led to the operation.


Tahir Khan July 31, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The United States was ‘60 per cent sure’ of Osama bin Laden’s presence in the Abbottabad compound where he was killed on May 2 but chose to “delay its operation knowing the implications it would have on its relationship with Pakistan”, The Express Tribune has learnt.


“There has never been a dispute on targeting al Qaeda. The ISI had translated a communication of (Abu Ahmed) al Kuwaiti (Bin Laden’s courier) from Arabic for the CIA which ultimately led to the compound of the al Qaeda chief,” a source said. “The ISI had somehow failed to follow that communication,” the source added.

The source slammed a statement from the CIA chief after the May 2 operation as ‘rubbing salt into their wounds’. Leon Panetta, who is now President Barack Obama’s top defence adviser, had said that Pakistan was either complacent or incompetent in the Bin Laden issue.

“The US and Pakistan have realisation to cooperate against the common enemy (terrorism). But undefined arrangements have resulted in (CIA contractor) Raymond Davis-like incidents that had brought embarrassment for us. We have to set parameters to avert such situations in future. We must work out arrangements acceptable to both sides,” the source said.

After the May 2 raid Pakistan’s image was tarnished abroad. “Had this operation been carried out by Pakistani forces, things would  have been different,” the source said and added that Pakistan-US relations should be redefined, documented and streamlined.

“The militaries and governments of the two countries should cooperate with each other against the common enemy. And pressure should be eased from Pakistan because it constricts space for manoeuvres. We are losing space which is required for success against the militants,” the source said.

The source insisted that both sides need to know each other’s terms of reference. “Leave the judgment to us, let us read our environment, we have to shape the condition, it cannot happen on the wishes of others”.

About Afghanistan, the source said Pakistan has strong reservations over the capability of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to tackle security following the withdrawal of foreign troops from the war-torn country. “If the US Congress loses interest in Afghanistan, the ANA would be facing severe financial problems.”

The source said that parts of the Afghan province of Nuristan are under the Taliban control. Foreign forces have pulled out from all forward bases in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. And the source said that because of this flocks of militants are using these regions as launching pads for undoing Pakistani forces’ achievements in Mohmand and Bajaur tribal regions.

About the Shamsi airbase, the source said that the US forces have vacated from most parts of it. “There are no drones at the Shamsi airbase. They are operating from Afghanistan.” The source added that there was no agreement with the US on the drone campaign and the base was given to the US for logistics and not active operations. “To our judgment the drone campaign is counterproductive, which is further complicating the problem,” the source said.

The source quashed as untrue the popular western notion that Pakistan was not doing more or moving in a certain direction in the fight against militancy. “Pakistani forces have regained control of Damadolla, in Bajaur Agency, which was the al Qaeda headquarters,” the source said.

They are also fighting against their own people. “This puts lots of constraints on the military… We want sustainable peace and military operations do not guarantee sustainable peace, the source said and added that there should be a non-military solution to the issue.

The source said that the government was trying to restore the ‘old order’ which was working in the tribal areas. “We must give back this area to (Pakhtun) tribes, so that they must not join hands with the militants.”

The source claimed that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was banished from Bajaur and Mohmand and its chapter in Swat has been closed. “A lot of them (TTP militants) have been killed. Nearly 1,500 militants have surrendered in Mohmand Agency, where the forces have destroyed seven IED-making factories,” the source said but added that complete purge would take some time.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st,  2011.

COMMENTS (29)

Cynical | 10 years ago | Reply

Look at the positive. At least they(US) feared about a fallout in relationship. We are still valued.The moral of the story is, 'we can still ask for some money'.

kulamarva balakrishna | 10 years ago | Reply

Vienna,01-08-2011 Boys and girls, make note concern yourself not with U.S.A now but with all weather friend Mandarin China, which is under attack from Pakistani soil. No more day dreaming.PLEASE. Wake up. I wish you all the best, Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring,TTTMM India --Kulamarva Balakrishna

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