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May 5, 2011

U.S. did not inform Pakistan of bin Laden mission because of suspicions he was being harbored by government

U.S. did not inform Pakistan of bin Laden mission because of suspicions he was being harbored by government

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

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The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, attacked “baseless speculation” that Pakistan was harboring bin Laden.

The U.S. did not inform Pakistan of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden because of fears they were harboring the leader of al-Qaeda and would warn him of the mission, a senior American intelligence official has said. Pakistan has defended itself against allegations it was protecting the world’s most wanted man, and expressed embarrassment after it emerged bin Laden may have been living in the compound in Abbottabad for as many as six years without being intercepted by Pakistan intelligence.

Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, said cooperation between the two countries “could jeopardise the mission” because there were suspicions that elements of the Pakistani government were working with bin Laden. Panetta disclosed U.S. officials had dismissed working with the government of Pakistan early on in the planning of the mission to kill him because of fears that they might “alert” the man named responsible for the September 11 attacks. The revelation will likely raise questions over the level of trust between officials in Washington, D.C. and Islamabad.

‘Deep concerns’

The president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has attacked “baseless speculation” that Pakistan was harboring bin Laden. The Pakistani foreign ministry also said in a statement that it has “deep concerns and reservations” over the U.S. fears it is sheltering terrorists, and stressed it shared information openly with Washington. But U.S. officials have raised concerns over how Pakistani authorities allowed bin Laden to remain undetected in the country for as many as six years, and tensions are likely to be further strained after the White House announced it would be throughly investigating claims bin Laden had “benefactors” and a “support system” inside Pakistan. John Brennan, a senior counterterrorism official, said: “We are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long.”

Denying they were providing a shelter for bin Laden, Pakistani officials expressed “embarrassment” over failing to detect his presence so close to the capital; they said a full investigation would be launched. “We will inquire into the causes of what happened but it’s really important not to turn it into any allegation of complicity,” the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, said. But Western politicians have expressed skepticism as to how the Pakistani government did not know bin Laden was in the country, despite him living a short distance from the leading elite military training academy. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham asked: “How could he be in such a compound without being noticed?”

File image of a team of U.S. Navy Seals, the elite unit which carried out the raid on the compound in Pakistan.

Daughter: Osama captured then shot

It emerged yesterday that bin Laden’s daughter had told Pakistani officials that her father had initially been captured by the U.S. forces and then killed. The White House said on Tuesday that bin Laden had been unarmed during the raid, but the U.S. Navy Seals did meet resistance from other people in the building; it is thought as many as 18 people may have been in the compound. The U.S. left several people behind, including six children; afterwards, Pakistani authorities arrested everyone in the compound.

“If he had surrendered, attempted to surrender, I think we should obviously have accepted that, but there was no indication that he wanted to do that and therefore his killing was appropriate,” U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said yesterday. But the claim by bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter that U.S. forces captured him and then shot him dead in front of his family appear to contradict this statement. The U.S. has also been forced to defend itself against allegations that the raid was unlawful, and claims that bin Laden was not a legitimate target. Holder told a Senate committee the killing of the al-Qaeda leader was “an act of national self-defence”.

More details have been emerging about how Bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. special forces on a compound not far from Islamabad over the weekend. The U.S. seized computer equipment and mobile telephones from the compound, which will be analysed with the hope they will reveal more information about the workings of al-Qaeda. U.S. president Barack Obama announced the raid on Sunday night. “I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said, and confirmed he had been told in August of a lead to the location of the al-Qaeda leader. Four other people were killed in the raid on the compound; the U.S. sustained no casualties. The body of bin Laden was buried at sea.

U.S. will not release corpse images

Cquote1.svg Osama bin Laden is not a trophy—he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated. Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

Last night Obama officially decided the U.S. will not release images of bin Laden’s corpse, which have been described as “very gruesome”. In an interview to be aired on CBS News, Obama will say: “The risks of release outweigh the benefits.” Skeptics have demanded the U.S. release the photographs of the corpse, and officials in the White House have been debating whether to do so for the past several days. But Obama is to add that conspiracy theorists “will just claim the photos are doctored anyway,” and say his decision was partly based on fears that there could be anger in the Middle East if the images were released. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy—he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated.” The images are reported to show bin Laden shot above the left eye, with parts of his brain exposed.

After it was announced on Sunday night that bin Laden had been killed, many Americans begun gathering in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., Times Square and Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York, to celebrate, singing the national anthem. Reports have indicated the U.S. government is awaiting the release of a “martyr tape”—an audio recording made by bin Laden to be broadcast after his death. Many world leaders have said the killing of bin Laden marks a major turning point on the war on terror. “Osama bin Laden suggested that he was operating in the name of Islam, but in reality he makes a mockery of the fundamental values of his own and every other religion,” Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said. But NATO said it would continue the war in Afghanistan to ensure the country “never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security.”

The White House also confirmed they expect al-Qaeda may launch a retaliatory attack after bin Laden’s death. “We have anticipated a backlash, a desire, if not the ability, to exact some sort of revenge,” a spokesperson said. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has threatened to launch attacks in Pakistan and the U.S. in revenge for the death of bin Laden. Panetta said: “Though bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is not. The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must—and will—remain vigilant and resolute.” The U.S. has issued notices advising travelers to avoid large crowds in foreign countries.



Related news

  • “World leaders react to death of Osama bin Laden” — Wikinews, May 3, 2011
  • “Pakistani Taliban threaten revenge attack after bin Laden death; CIA says retaliation is likely” — Wikinews, May 3, 2011
  • “Osama bin Laden dead, report U.S. officials” — Wikinews, May 2, 2011

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May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. operation in Pakistan, White House says

Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. operation in Pakistan, White House says

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Monday, May 2, 2011

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File photograph of Osama bin Laden.
Image: FBI.

U.S. officials last night said Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader and orchestrator of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and embassy bombings in 1998, had been killed by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan near the capital Islamabad.

White House officials say that four others were killed in the forty-minute raid that began at 2000 UTC yesterday—including a woman said to have been used as a human shield. One of those shot is thought to be bin Laden’s son. An American helicopter was lost due to mechanical failure, but no U.S. forces or civilians were killed.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the news in a statement late last night. “I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said. He confirmed he had been told in August of a lead to the location of bin Laden, and approved the operation last week. The operation involved a “small team of Americans”, Obama said.

The operation, led by the CIA, occurred nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks. CIA director Leon Panetta notified U.S. legislators Sunday about the news. His body was verified using several methods, including DNA testing with DNA from a dead sister’s body, stored in a Boston, Massachusetts hospital, as well as facial recognition. However, staff at the hospital in question—Massachusetts General Hospital—have not been able to “find any evidence” of the body ever being stored there. U.S. officials said his body was then buried at sea at around 0600 UTC today, “in accordance with Islamic law and traditions” and because of the difficulty of finding a country that would accept the remains of the world’s most wanted man. Saudi Arabia, the country in which Osama bin Laden was born, refused a U.S. offer to take the body.

Celebrations in U.S.; European Parliament says world is ‘safer’

Following the President’s announcement, people started gathering in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., Times Square and Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York, to celebrate; singing the national anthem. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, said he hoped the death of bin Laden would “bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001”.

The U.S. government is reportedly expecting al-Qaeda to soon release what they are likely to call a “martyr tape”—an audio recording made by bin Laden to be broadcast after his death.

Although the death of the 54-year-old bin Laden, who was the most wanted person in the world, was greeted with celebration in the U.S., analysts have warned that al-Qaeda will “undoubtedly” launch a retaliatory attack. “I think the significance of what has happened cannot really be overstated,” John Gearson, director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London, said.

President Obama’s announcement of the news.

“There will be concerns that there could be some sort of retaliation, that al-Qaeda may well want to demonstrate that they are still strong and still in the game.” He warned that U.S. officials may “lose their focus” after such a major victory, “and that will provide an opportunity for the remnants of al-Qaeda to reform and grow stronger.”

Cquote1.svg I can report to the American people and to the world, that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, appealed to Islamic militant fighters to use the opportunity of bin Laden’s death to abandon their groups. “Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance: you cannot wait us out,” she said. “You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon Al Qaeda and cooperate in a peaceful political process.”

The president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said that “we have waken up in a safer world”, with the news bringing “safety to millions of people”, whilst U.S. senator John McCain sought to remind the American people to “be mindful that al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies”. The Kremlin reiterated that “revenge is inescapable for all terrorists”, and that “only a joint struggle against global terrorism can bring a result”.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, sought to remind people bin Laden was “the world’s most prominent leader”, going on to say that “it was of great importance that he was still alive and active, and it is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world”. Mentioning that security at British embassies worldwide have been increased in the wake of the news, he reiterated that the death of the al-Qaeda leader was a “serious blow”, and that, “like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate”.

Americans gather at Ground Zero—the site of the World Trade Center—in New York to celebrate the death of bin Laden.
Image: rxb.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, welcomed the news, along with many other European countries. He praised the “tenacity” of the U.S. attack, congratulating the “major blow” the move dealt to al-Qaeda. Eight French citizens were killed last week in a bomb blast in Marrakesh, and, although no group has yet claimed responsibility, it is speculated that al-Qaeda were behind the attack. Sarkozy paid homage to them, as well as other around the world, saying the “victims received justice today and France has thoughts for them and their families”.

Cquote1.svg It is unequivocally a good thing that he is no longer able to pursue terror, murder and mayhem in the world. Cquote2.svg

—William Hague, British Foreign Secretary

Pakistani involvement

Pakistani officials were not informed of the planned raid, with the White House saying this was “essential to the security of the operation and our personnel”. However Obama emphasised that cooperation with Pakistan had helped in finding bin Laden. The operation, described by one senior White House official as “a surgical raid by a small team designed to minimise collateral damage”, was not intended to take bin Laden alive. “It was a kill mission”, said one security official. Bin Laden died after being shot in the head.

Witnesses in Abbottabad have described how the U.S. forces carried out the raid on the compound, which had significant security features, including walls up to 18-foot high topped with barbed wire. “We saw four helicopters at around 2am. We were told to switch off lights of our homes and stay inside,” one witness, who lives in the town of Bilal in Abbottabad, said. The man confirmed he had seen the wreckage of the U.S. military helicopter which crashed after experiencing mechanical difficulties.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the U.S. “operation was conducted [by] U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found in the world”, noting that almost “30,000 Pakistani civilians” had been killed in terrorist attacks in recent years, with the “nation fully united in [its] resolve to eliminate terrorism”.

Cquote1.svg We saw four helicopters at around 2am. We were told to switch off lights of our homes and stay inside. Cquote2.svg

—Witness in Abbottabad, Pakistan

However, Pervez Musharraf, a former president of Pakistan, criticised the U.S. involvement, describing the operation as a “violation of [Pakistani] sovereignty,” and saying the raid was a “a failure of both Pakistani and U.S. intelligence”; he stressed it would have been “far better” if the Pakistani Special Services Group had carried out the attack. Musharraf went on to say he was “surprised” bin Laden was found in Abbottabad, but added the terrorist leader “had declared war against Pakistan”, and that the news came as a “victory for the people of Pakistan and all the peace loving people of the world”.

The news that bin Laden was hiding just a few hundred metres from Pakistan Military Academy, a similar institution to the U.S. West Point Academy or the UK Sandhurst, has been met with embarrassment on behalf of the Pakistani government, and scepticism from others. “This is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan”, according to one Pakistani security analyst. Earlier today, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai maintained he knew bin Laden was in Pakistan: “For 10 years we told NATO and the world community but for ten years they didn’t listen to our voice. They burned Afghanistan for ten years but Osama was in Islamabad.”

Photograph of Obama and his national security team awaiting updates on the strike mission, yesterday.
Image: The White House.

Whilst many governments worldwide welcomed the death of bin Laden, more than 800 people marched in the Pakistani city of Quetta, paying homage to bin Laden and burning a U.S. flag. According to the organizer, “Bin Laden was the hero of the Muslim world and after his martyrdom he has won the title of great mujahed“. At the march, pro-Taliban and anti-United States sentiments were chanted, before the protesters dispersed peacefully.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have denied that bin Laden has been killed, although in a conference call to several Pakistani media outlets, a rebel spoksperson threatened to seek revenge: “If Bin Laden attained martyrdom, then we will avenge his death and we will attack the governments of Pakistan and the United States and their security forces”.

Although no images of bin Laden’s body have been released, the Obama administration is, according to ABC News, in possession of gruesome photographs: a “massive head wound” where he took a bullet, with “blood and brains clearly visible”.

The price of oil has dropped following the announcement after speculation that the death of bin Laden will lower the risk of supply disruption in the Middle East, with a barrel of crude oil for June delivery falling by $1.92.



Related news

  • “”Osama to Obama”: Bin Laden addresses US President” — Wikinews, January 25, 2010
  • “Pakistani prime minister says Osama Bin Laden not in the country” — Wikinews, December 3, 2009

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June 13, 2010

Pakistan\’s intelligence agency said to support Taliban

Pakistan’s intelligence agency said to support Taliban

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

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A report from the London School of Economics claims that the intelligence agency of Pakistan, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

According to the report, the ISI actively provides the Taliban with services such as funding, weapons, and the training of troops. Additionally, the report, which is based on interviews with members of the Taliban, says that numerous ISI officials are part of the Taliban’s council of war, the Quetta Shura, although some Taliban commanders say that all Quetta Shura members have ties to the ISI. A senior Taliban official said that “[i]t is impossible to be a member of the Quetta shura without membership of the ISI.”

Taliban commanders said that the ISI has specifically provided support to or encouraged strategies such as attacking specific NATO military installations or infrastructure essential to NATO operations such as roads or bridges and assassinating specific individuals, such as high-ranking tribal officials or civilians such as doctors or teachers. The ISI is also alleged to have been the impetus behind the introduction of a type of explosive called a “plastic bomb,” which is undetectable with current NATO detection equipment.

The report said that “[a]s the provider of sanctuary and substantial financial, military and logistical support to the insurgency, the ISI appears to have strong strategic and operational influence—reinforced by coercion. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign.”

The Pakistani government has denied the claims in the report; a spokesperson said that “[t]he allegations are absolutely baseless.” Another official, referring to an alleged meeting of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari with imprisoned Taliban commanders, said that “[t]here’s no such thing as President Zardari meeting Taliban leaders. This never happened.”



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February 18, 2010

Joint US-Pakistan operation captures top Taliban commander

Joint US-Pakistan operation captures top Taliban commander

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

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According to reports, a joint covert operation by United States and Pakistan forces have captured the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar was captured seven to nine days ago according to officials.

Officials describe Baradar as second in influence only to the Taliban’s founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar. They say he is the most important Taliban figure detained since the war in Afghanistan started in late 2001.

The Taliban in Afghanistan deny Baradar has been captured, calling the report a rumor and a diversion. A spokeperson for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid said, “This is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive.” Adding, “They are facing big problems in Marja. In reality there is nothing regarding Baradar’s arrest. He is safe and free and he is in Afghanistan.”

Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents say they are interrogating Baradar, who was in charge of the Taliban’s day-to-day military operations and its governing political council.

Speaking in Islamabad, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik would not confirm the report of Baradar’s arrest.

But he said that since the U.S.-led coalition invaded the Taliban stronghold of Marja in southern Afghanistan several days ago, Pakistan has arrested suspected militants who have fled across the border.

“There are a number of arrests of people who were running away from Afghanistan and coming to Pakistan. And we are very much alert. The day we get any information [of] who are they, we will tell the people of Pakistan,” said Malik.

He also said that it is true the United States and Pakistan share intelligence information. However, he stressed that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and does not allow foreign forces to take part in anti-militancy raids within its borders.

Officials say his capture suggests a new level of cooperation between Pakistani and American intelligence agencies. In the past, U.S. officials have accused Pakistan’s intelligence agencies of maintaining ties with the Afghan Taliban leadership and being reluctant to pursue them in sanctuaries in Pakistan. Pakistani officials have denied the claim.

The New York Times first reported Baradar’s capture late Monday. The paper says it learned of the operation last week, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who argued that making it public would compromise the effort to gather intelligence.



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November 14, 2009

Bomb blast kills at least eleven in Pakistan, over twenty wounded

Bomb blast kills at least eleven in Pakistan, over twenty wounded

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pakistan
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  • 18 February 2015: Pakistan releases 173 Indian prisoners at Wagah border
  • 18 December 2014: Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school
  • 14 August 2014: Indian Prime Minister accuses Pakistan of waging proxy war
  • 27 July 2014: India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation
  • 24 July 2014: Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan
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Pakistani police said today that a suicide car bombing has killed at least eleven people and wounded more than twenty others, in the latest attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Officials reported that the bomber set off the explosives at a police checkpoint, and added that two police officers are among the dead.

“At least eleven people have been killed and 26 others wounded,” said Sahibzada Anis, the Peshawar district administration chief, to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

According to the man in charge of the checkpoint, Malik Jehangir, he noticed a black car across the barrier and asked security officers to check it. “I saw that there was some argument between the driver and the policeman and suddenly a blast downed me with shrapnel piercing my shoulder,” he said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

The bombing came a day after a suicide bomber struck the Peshawar office of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, killing ten people. That blast caused a large portion of the three-story ISI building to collapse.



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October 17, 2006

Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan to resume in November

Foreign Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan to resume in November

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The dialogue between India and Pakistan will resume on 13 November, when the Foreign Secretaries of both nations meet in New Delhi. The officials will discuss a wide range of issues, including the joint anti-terror mechanism, as a part of which India will offer its neighbour evidence of the involvement of Pakistani nationals and the ISI in the 11/7 blasts in Mumbai.

Shiv Shankar Menon, who served as India’s High Commissioner to Islamabad before taking over as Foreign Secretary will meet his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan on the 13 and 14 of November to discuss and review the ongoing peace-process between the two countries. The talks were earlier put off following the July bombings and the subsequent indications of Pakistan’s role in those attacks. New Delhi “hopes” that the discussions between these high-ranking officials will lead to the early implementation of the joint anti-terror mechanism, which was agreed upon by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf during the NAM summit in Cuba earlier this year.

India is expected to hand over evidence, including telephone recording, of the Pakistani involvement in the bombings, and seek the extradition of suspects from Pakistan. Pakistan has said that India’s claims of the ISI’s hand in the attacks were “unsubstantiated” and “baseless” even though ivestigations revealed that 11 Pakistani nationals were directly involved in the blasts. “We have to give them evidence. We will give them credible evidence. We feel that there is involvement of elements (based) in Pakistan,” Prime Minister Singh said. “We will test them once we have given them evidence.”

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