Abbottabad Commission report: Military faults local police

Published: July 10, 2013
Bin Laden compound. PHOTO: FILE

Bin Laden compound. PHOTO: FILE


In their briefing to the Abbottabad Commission, Pakistan’s military passed the buck to the local police for not spotting the house Osama Bin Laden and his family had been living in for years.

Army’s board of inquiry, established under Lt-Gen Javed Iqbal, told the commission that the local Nawan Shehar police station was located close to Bin Laden’s compound; but the police failed to observe anything unusual about the place and no report on anything suspicious was ever filed neither by the police nor special branch, which were responsible to maintain a close watch on the area. This is according to the Abbottabad Commission report leaked to Arab news network Al Jazeera, a copy of which is available on its website.

The board of inquiry maintained that the police ignored or failed to take note of even the visible violation of cantonment regulations in the shape of construction of a third storey at the compound. “They also did not detect anything strange or noteworthy in the manner or the activities of the two brothers; while the special branch had the responsibility to keep an eye on all unusual activities, behaviours or visits to the area due to its proximity to Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), the board stated.”

“Since high-profile personalities regularly visited the PMA, sweeps were regularly carried out to ensure against any untoward incident. However, the special branch was understaffed and underequipped to do a proficient job,” the board stated. According to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)’s estimates and Bin Laden’s diary, he had moved to the areas in August 2005 and had maintained a low profile.  “And as the house was located within the Abbottabad cantonment; it was least expected to draw any attention as a possible terror hideout,” the board said.

The board maintained that due to the presence of a plethora of security and intelligence agencies and civil and military organisations, it was difficult to coordinate and share information. Poor coordination among agencies, duplication of work, qualitative and quantitative inadequacies of training, skills and equipment were among the reasons that made it possible for Bin Laden to evade detection in Abbottabad, the board told the commission

Speaking before the commission, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that the American CIA had rented a number of houses in Islamabad, a development that had been reported to the government.

The spy agency said Bin Laden was not operational since 2005 and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al Zawahiri was running al Qaeda’s affairs; therefore, everyone, including the US, thought that Bin Laden was dead.

The commission rejected the ISI’s assertion, saying that the US had never called off its search for Bin Laden, they had just stopped sharing information with the ISI.  The commission said the ISI abandoned its search as soon as it thought the US had stopped looking for Bin Laden.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Al_Chemisto
    Jul 10, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Is Police given 900 billion / year (600 billion announced + 300 billion unannounced) ?


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 10, 2013 - 9:58AM

    It is very easy to shift the responsibility on some one else shoulders.

    OBL was not an ordinary criminal.

    He was wanted by the US government in connection with the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the World Trade Towers and Pentagon.

    I think every body in the world knew about OBL.

    As far as Abbottabad is concerned, there is a Military Garrison and NOT Police Garrison.


  • Saad K
    Jul 10, 2013 - 10:50AM

    Miltary faulting the police ? What a joke of a country we are.


  • H.A. Khan
    Jul 10, 2013 - 11:17AM

    Sure buddy.
    I am surprised that so far no one has had the moral courage to resign or retired early. Amazing……..


  • Saim
    Jul 10, 2013 - 11:25AM


    900 Billion or not, what is happening in neighbourhood is responsibility of area SHO not of any Major Sb. or Col. Sb. Military is not designed for day to day law and order maintenence activities.

    Please read this:


  • White Russian
    Jul 10, 2013 - 12:21PM

    @saim: Are SHO? Are you kidding? In places like this one even DIG has no control.


  • Jul 10, 2013 - 12:27PM

    Expecting police to? With the resources they have? seriously?


  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jul 10, 2013 - 12:48PM

    @SAIM, they are not speaking about law and order problem and the compoound next to military school is not law and order problem, it is a security issue. where no military officer raised any red flags.


  • Dilip
    Jul 10, 2013 - 12:49PM

    When one recognises that a mistake has been made, one can rectify the problems surrounding the mistakes made. When one passes the buck then the very same mistakes will be made again in the future.


  • Zafar
    Jul 10, 2013 - 12:54PM

    Ok then did military fulfill its tasks? They crossed our borders, completed their task, went to their base and our military didn’t even get a hint of their intrusion. How can we even trust them?


  • Ghalib
    Jul 10, 2013 - 1:43PM

    I agree with u Mr. Saim and i would like to add more. it is responsibility of traffic police to stop the US chopers and drones.


  • Naveen
    Jul 10, 2013 - 1:55PM

    Pakistan Government may very well be incompetent but I can’t buy that a guy like OBL chose Abbottabad out of sheer coincidence or stupidity.Recommend

  • Rana Amjad
    Jul 10, 2013 - 2:03PM

    I will die laughing at the most hilarious statement made by PK army!


  • Naresh
    Jul 10, 2013 - 2:19PM

    Gentle Readers,
    So What Is New?


  • khan Sahib
    Jul 10, 2013 - 3:45PM

    If every thing has to be done by the Police than we must restructure the services cadres. The IG Police shall be called as The Chief of Police Staff with the job description of protecting the Air, Land and Sea borders along with the day to day local affairs.
    The present and the future bravo army chiefs and the followers shall be assigned the task of “Khusr-phusr” or simply Gossip Makers under the Ministry of Communication and Entertainment.


  • ishrat salim
    Jul 10, 2013 - 4:20PM

    Ms Clinton took the responsibility of last year Benghazi bombing wherein some Americans including diplomatic staff were killed & she was grilled in front of Civilian oversight committee for the incident & eventually she resigned…that is called moral courage to own responsibility….we do not have that culture nor the word ” resign ” in our dictionary….nor we are a morally upright nation…..we failed in May 02,thereafter Mehran base, Karsaz base, Kamran base & Peshawar airport to name a few…..all were due to intelligence failures…it is high time to confront all such high profile attacks with our intelligence outfits & put them under a one new head like ” homeland security “… & making them more accountable is the only way to ensure that such incidents are pre-empted.


  • Polpot
    Jul 10, 2013 - 4:50PM

    “Abbottabad Commission report: Military faults local police”
    Military ahs been severly indicted by the Commission and therefore they are hardly in a position to find fault with anyone but themselves!.


  • Ahmad_SE
    Jul 10, 2013 - 5:05PM

    better to plot Police for the safety of PMA and GHQ..


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