Ties between allies: ‘No reason why Pakistan would hide OBL’s presence’

Ex-CIA chief says drones need to be part of a broader approach.

Huma Imtiaz July 28, 2012
Ties between allies: ‘No reason why Pakistan would hide OBL’s presence’


If senior Pakistani officials knew about former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director general Michael Hayden says he cannot find a logical reason as to why they would not share such information with the US.

Speaking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the Aspen Security Forum, Hayden, the ex-CIA spymaster from 2006-2009, said that this was merely his own opinion and not based on any specific evidence, as he was not in office at the time. “If someone has a contrary position, they are going to have to show me some facts,” Hayden said.

While declining to comment specifically on the US drone programme, Hayden said: “The president [Barack Obama] has made it very clear that we have worked very hard to take our enemies off the battlefield. I think we have been very successful in making the organisation that attacked us on 9/11 less capable of attacking the US again.”

However, he said that while using drones was a successful tactic, which he supports, it needed to be part of a broader strategic approach that addresses the US’ relationship with Pakistan. “Frankly, it saddens me to say that the way we view the problem and the way the Pakistani government views the problem today isn’t nearly as close as it used to be. So, as we go forward and carry out such tactical practices, I think we also have to keep in mind the long-term strategic relationship, and we need to tend to its costs and benefits to the best of our abilities both in Washington and in Islamabad.”

ISI chief’s visit to the US

General Hayden added that he had seen press reports that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence chief General Zaheerul Islam would be visiting the US soon to meet his CIA counterpart General David Petraeus.

“I think the important thing is that they develop a common understanding of the threat, a common understanding of the situation. I mentioned before that we have a government whose policy seems to be divergent, that may be based on a different view of what is going on.” Hayden said that, “I’ve found that candid, honest exchanges of information between intelligence services very often gives policymakers more common ground on which to build more complimentary, more consistent, and, frankly, more successful, policies.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.


j. von hettlingen | 11 years ago | Reply

It seems that Michael Hayden hadn't got the logic right. If Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad were known to senior Pakisani officials, the CIA wouldn't have been able to liquidate him in May 2011, because he would have been long gone. Only very few people knew of bin Laden's existence in Pakistan.

Sultan Ahmed | 11 years ago | Reply

Both sides have safe havens in heir remote areas. Shawal,Waziristan in Pakistan,Kunnar, Noristan in Afghanistan.

Recently attacks from both sides also rise serious concerned of whether Afghan forces will be prepared to take over security responsibilities for the entire country once American and Nato forces withdraw by the end of 2014.

Impossible,the time frame as announced by state depart is a part of American diplomacy.They have no plan to withdraw from Afghanistan.They know Afghan government under the stooge leadership has not enough capability to face Islamist extremists.

An independent reliable sources quoted an American top-ranked leader as saying,'' ''the agreement ,we signed with Afghanistan, a signal to Taliban that they can not wait us out

United States want precondition negotiation with Taliban,which has already turn down by the Taliban.It is impossible to the last extent.

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ