Pakistan was unaware of bin Laden's location, US assessment concludes

Published: November 16, 2012
Though bin Laden is dead, non-state actors still present a threat, says US admiral. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

Though bin Laden is dead, non-state actors still present a threat, says US admiral. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

WASHINGTON: The commander of US Special Operations Command has said that a post-raid assessment concluded there is no evidence that the Pakistani government knew the whereabouts of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was eliminated in an operation in May 2011. 

Navy Adm William H McRaven told attendees at a Summit that Pakistan wasn’t informed of the raid that led to the death of bin Laden.

McRaven said he doesn’t believe the Pakistani government knew bin Laden’s whereabouts, the Pentagon reported Thursday.

“We have no intelligence that indicates the Pakistanis knew he was there,” he added.

The US Special Forces carried out the secret night raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad on May 1, last year.

McRaven said there was never a moment he doubted the raid would succeed. Though bin Laden is dead, non-state actors still present a threat, the admiral noted.

“We’ve done a terrific job of taking care of the core of al  Qaeda,” McRaven said. But, he added, “There’s no such thing as a local problem anymore. Everything in the world is connected.”

This interconnectedness means the future of special operations lies in partnerships with other nations, he added.

“We understand to minimize the rise of violent extremism, you have to create the conditions on the ground where people have good jobs, where there is the rule of law, where there is stability [and] where there is good governance,” he said.

“We think, from a military standpoint, we can certainly help with the security that will be required to help begin to build some of that stability”.

“The raids get all the media attention”, he continued, “but the reality of the matter is the bulk of what we do is building partner capacity and working with host nations. I think that’s the future of special operations,” he said, according to a Pentagon account of his remarks.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Nov 16, 2012 - 5:18PM

    So, can we finally put the conspiracy theories (that the Pakistan Army and/or ISI was complicit in hiding OBL) to rest now?


  • vasan
    Nov 16, 2012 - 5:26PM

    OBL was dead long ago. Only his dead body was dumped first and then taken up from Abbotabad. So obviously Pak didnt know about OBL iin Pakistan. That is if you want to believe the awam of Pak.

    “We have no intelligence that indicates the Pakistanis knew he was there,” he added.

    There is a big confusion Whom does he mean by Pakistanis. The civilian govt, ISI or the Army or even the judiciary. After all civilian govt does not know what the army does and the army some time does not know what the ISI does. Even within ISI there are supposedly indoctrinated mulla oriented guys who support clandestinely the terrorists. Which Pakistan did not know OBL’s existence? The fact that the OBL mansion was bulldozed speaks volumes of conspiracy like the hosing down the spot where BB was killed, and that too immediately she was killed.


  • RAW is WAR
    Nov 16, 2012 - 5:43PM

    choo chweet.


  • Hukka
    Nov 16, 2012 - 5:48PM

    The world would like to know about this from Secretary of State or the President.


  • Hella
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:36PM

    So it was always incompetency of Pakistani agencies, which is normally the case. Else TTP and all other CIA/RAW/Mossad operatives would not be able to operate with impunity in Pakistan. Unfortunately a very large budgetary allocation to incompetent Pakistani security agencies is just a waste of money. Better to be spent on health and education.


  • Truth
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:38PM

    I think this is all just a cover up. If u have noticed in the past we have already killed this guy…and it turned out to be look alikes. So who is to say this time it was actually him. I do not think we should yet put to rest any conspiracy on OBL death. He could still be alive. The goverment has lied to us before so who knows….maybe they are lieng to us yet againg. Lies are so commonly told….The truth is wat is really hard to find. Yes he might be dead, i do not dout our military but….i do not usually believe our goverment on everything they say. So basically what i am getting at is, do not just yet put theories to rest….because u never know.


  • Nadir
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:40PM

    Ah, so the ISI was just incompetent then?


  • Jat
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:42PM

    Crossing the border: NATO oil supply expected to resume by month’s end
    By Sohail Khattak Published: November 15, 2012

    Do not gloat; you are being played by the Big Boss.


  • Chengez K
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:45PM

    OBL was an old CIA AGENT…..trained & then brought from KSA to Afghanistan………As latest research shows he had a chip planted in his left armpit …in other words he was being monitored all the time.

    Only at the time when he came to Abbotabad for mating with his young wife …that CIA struck…..


  • Nov 16, 2012 - 6:45PM

    @ Vasan:

    There is no confusion – ‘Pakistanis’ covers all institutions and exonerates Pakistan (Government, military and intelligence) from official complicity in hiding OBL.


  • Polpot
    Nov 16, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Is this a leak from the Abbottabad Commission Report?
    Just curious:)


  • Jat
    Nov 16, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Chengez K: “Only at the time when he came to Abbotabad for mating with his young wife …that CIA struck…..”

    Were you the organ that Bin Laden used to mate with his young wife ? You seem to be having all the inside detail. What I don’t understand is what were you doing in Laden’s left armpit ?


  • bangash
    Nov 16, 2012 - 7:42PM

    This is being taken as some sort of accomplishment by establishment propagandists.


  • Yea Right
    Nov 16, 2012 - 7:55PM

    This is all BS. This raid was authorized by Pakistan. Things went wrong when the chopper crashed. Interviews from local points to them being warned to stay in-door and have their lights turn off several several hours before the raid.


  • Cautious
    Nov 16, 2012 - 7:56PM

    Yeah – that just means they didn’t find any hard evidence in the raid – doesn’t mean that every piece of anecdotal evidence points to involvement by the “deep state”. And I would remind everyone that a couple years ago Clinton stood up in front of a student audience at a Pakistani university and stated that the USA believed that OBL was living in Pakistan and that high level people within your govt/military knew his location.


  • Mirza
    Nov 16, 2012 - 8:33PM

    “there is no evidence that the Pakistani government knew the whereabouts of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden”
    Of course the new democratic govt did not know about the presence of OBL who was housed in a custom home six years ago during Gen Mush’s rule. Pakistani govt and people usually have no clue about such major issues involving the deep state. In fact this statement absolves the govt and ordinary people of Pakistan but not the deep state who has been providing sanctuaries to the terrorists.


  • Enlightened
    Nov 16, 2012 - 8:52PM

    The US Commander in Chief’s statement is a near perfect approach of doubleness towards a country whose own conduct is double and which is called by no meaner name than diplomacy. However in the world of diplomacy, give and take is its first principle but American diplomacy is give one and take ten.


  • Ken Baskin
    Nov 16, 2012 - 9:46PM

    ‘although’, not ‘though’ – can’t people write anymore?


  • Maverick
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:15PM

    The leak, it would seem, is in your head- empty vessels make most noise.


  • Rishi
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:30PM


    There were never any conspiracy theories. There were only two possible alternatives which were both indicative of Pakistan’s unsuitability as an ally.

    1) They did not know what the heck was going on under their own noses and Pakistan has no control over its own territory.

    2) They knew it and were complicit.

    Either ways, the alternative was that our ally was an idiot or a villian both of whom were unacceptable as allies. The difference is only academic.


  • JSM
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:53PM

    American General is joking.


  • Parvez
    Nov 16, 2012 - 11:14PM

    This is like dragging something out of its grave……….. case is closed, opinions have been made………… why this ?


  • Gaurav
    Nov 16, 2012 - 11:23PM

    For all the misdeeds of America (Raymond, Salala and surprise raid), American gift to Pakistan


  • rita janwi singh
    Nov 17, 2012 - 12:08AM

    The remarks come from a diplomat — read between the lines and you can interpret more. He may be trying to play down the furore that is raging in the USA where people are hopping mad when they just hear the word “Pakistan”. One needs only to open any paper and read the readers’ comments who respond with disdain and contempt to any news item on Pakistan. The majority of the Pakistanis living in the USA are embarrassed to call themselves Pakistanis! OBL lived for several years in Abbottabad on his own; where he did buy his daily groceries; where did he get the TV set in his house; how did he manage to pay for electricity, water, etc.; if he was given a new identity, then how was he tracked down; how did he manage such a large household. He lived very close to the military headquarters in Abbottabad. It was not surprising that his house was quickly razed to the ground to stop the Pandora box — or the can of worms — from being opened. The matter needs to be investigated because the world knows that many Pakistanis, including some people in high positions, are implicated.


  • John F (Australia)
    Nov 17, 2012 - 2:19AM

    @JSM: I doubt that Pakistani ISI and Military are as incompetent as McRaven wants us to believe. By saying that the Pakistani intelligence didn’t know that the world’s most wanted man was living in their backyard is a slap on the face Pakistani military and the ISI. Either that or he’s indirectly admitting the the US intelligence is made up of bumbling buffoons. Neither are funny assumptions.


  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 17, 2012 - 2:20AM

    The bottom line is that no hard evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death has been produced. In fact just the reverse, and one can choose to believe or not believe. I prefer hard evidence. It is interesting to note that so many statements made by America are not supported by hard evidence. Starting with 9/11 nobody has yet been brought to trial in a civil court. If Osama was at Abbottabad why not put him on trial in America and put all the conspiracy theories to rest. But no, he was supposedly killed and his body was conveniently disposed of in the sea so now we will never know for sure if Osama was the 9/11 master mind, or that Pakistan was protecting him. Unfortunately, Governments have a tendency to conceal the truth or tell lies, particularly the US. This was very evident in Iraq when the US invaded on the pretext that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. I understand that America is still looking for them. The fact that America, via Admiral McRaven, is now down-playing the Abbottabad incident is probably because the two countries are trying to get a smooth working relationship working. Although not a perfect ending to Abbottabad it is probably the best we can hope for.


  • Karma
    Nov 17, 2012 - 6:41AM

    Pakistan was unaware of Bin Laden Like US was unaware of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon development in 80s??!!


  • Anjaan
    Nov 17, 2012 - 6:48AM

    1. Pakistan did not know that Dr. AQ Khan was running nuke Walmart
    2. Pakistan did not know that OBL was living right at the heart of the military garrison for over six years.

    – Which Pakistan do they refer to …. the Military establishment, or the Civilian Govt … ?
    – By giving clean chit to Pakistan, who are the Americans trying to protect ….. ?
    – And finally, do the Americans think that the rest of the world are idiots …. ?Recommend

  • gp65
    Nov 17, 2012 - 10:23AM

    @Mirza: “In fact this statement absolves the govt and ordinary people of Pakistan but not the deep state who has been providing sanctuaries to the terrorists.”

    True when it comes to OBL. Do you think government is equally unaware about Daood Ibrahim? What about the deliberate tardness in investigating 26/11. After all if it was planned i Pakistan, which government can investigate and prosecute the people concerned?


  • Nov 17, 2012 - 10:23AM

    Admiral William McRaven, sir. Thank you for throwing gutter slush on our faces. The citizens of this country may be silent and forbearing but they certainly are no fools.
    When the Pakistani intelligence says it is unaware of OBL’s presence, why don’t you ask them if they are aware of wearing underwear?
    Our intelligence team and forces were caught with their pants down and all their acumen was shown for what it is worth. Yes, if you are applying ‘maska palish’ (buttering up) for 2013/14, then nobody blames you. Your SEAL team lived up to their name, training and mission purpose. There is a difference between Petraeus and Pasha. Salams


  • Jat
    Nov 17, 2012 - 10:38AM

    @gp65: The generals know everything that goes on in Pakistan. Be it Bin Laden, be it Dawood, or Zawahiri or Mullah Omar, be it Mumbai attacks. And as usual the common Pakistanis are kept in the dark.

    Look at the nerve of Gen Kayani, the way he threatened Chief Justice publicly.

    India should barricade itself and keep away till some kind of civilized stability descends on Pakistan. This is a fire that will burn everything and anything that comes in contact with it.


  • Jat
    Nov 17, 2012 - 11:02AM

    @the Skunk: Very well said !


  • Jat
    Nov 17, 2012 - 11:13AM

    @Anjaan: Pakistan was also unaware of regular PAF Hercules CJ 130 transport flights carrying centrifuges, blueprints and critical components to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

    Libya was presented with the complete design of a atomic bomb that was tested by China in 1960. China and Pakistan were both unaware of how these designs first reached Pakistan and then Tripoli.


  • P N Eswaran
    Nov 17, 2012 - 5:15PM

    I do not underrate the ISI. Pakistanis did know of the presence of OBL. They also knew of the Abbottabad operation. Obama wanted to milk the full credit of the operation himself and at the same time administer a resounding kick on the Pakistani army’s butt. Two birds in one shot!

    The stock of Kayani & co in America is very low. What better way to make the Pakistani army fall in the eyes of the common man in Pakistan.

    For a change it made the entire nation look like a paradise of fools instead of a terrorist super market.


  • Azeem
    Nov 18, 2012 - 2:44AM

    was america complicit in 9/11 because the 9/11 bombers lived in america ???
    OBL lived in a room with no outside connection, USA only found him because of intel provided by Prisoners caught by pakistan..its no big deal osama was hiding with a local family…it took cia decades to find nazis, doesnt mean isi is incompetent our priorities were india and pakistan taliban


  • Azeem
    Nov 18, 2012 - 2:51AM

    @Karma: AMERICA knew of nuclear program it 80s thats why we got sanctions in late 80sRecommend

  • Mirani
    Nov 18, 2012 - 3:52AM

    How can it be possible ??
    I think American General is telling lie on this issue because everybody know that America wants safe escape from Afghanistan using Pakistani Military establishment help.


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