© 2023
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

On Bin Laden Operation, What Did Pakistan Know?

Here's an interesting bit deep into a New York Times' piece this morning about U.S.-Pakistan relations:

After the killing of Bin Laden became public in Pakistan, an ISI official confirmed his death but then insisted, contrary to President Obama's statement, that he was killed in a joint United States-Pakistani operation, apparently an effort to show that Pakistan knew about the operation in advance.

So how much did Pakistan know about the early morning raid that killed Osama Bin Laden? A senior administration official said during an early morning briefing that the U.S. "shared our intelligence on this bin Laden compound with no other country, including Pakistan."

The same official added that only a few U.S. government officials knew about the operation in advance.

Pakistan'sThe Nation reports that the Pakistani government held a high-level meeting to talk about the operation and stuck to the United Staes' official line:

The meeting was told that the Pakistan forces did not take part in the operation and the operation was done under the U.S. policy and Pakistan was informed after the completion of operation. The U.S. concerned authorities were also in constant touch with the Pakistani authorities

NPR's Tom Gjelten told Steve Inskeep this morning that what might be happening here is what's happened between the U.S. and Pakistan after U.S. drone attacks: "official denial and private complicity."

Tom added that it's hard to believe that U.S. helicopters could fly through Pakistan undetected and unfettered, especially through an area that's firmly under surveillance from Pakistan's integrated air defense. He said the only way that could happen is if Pakistan knew what was coming.

The AFP quotes Pakistan's foreign ministry first saying the operation was fully a U.S. undertaking, then saying that Pakistan has played a "significant role" in counter-terrorism efforts.

"We have had extremely effective intelligence sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies including that of the US. We will continue to support international efforts against terrorism," the foreign ministry said.

Update at 11:24 p.m. ET:Here's NPR's Julie McCarthy reporting from Pakistan about the government official reaction:

Update at 1:01 p.m. ET. Clinton Says Pakistan Helped Lead U.S. To Bin Laden:

The AP reports on Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's remarks:

Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Monday, Clinton thanked Pakistan for its cooperation and said the country "hascontributed greatly to our efforts to dismantle al-Qaida." Shesaid that "in fact, cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us tobin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding."

Reuters reports that Sen. Joe Liberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affair Committee, said that Pakistan must prove to the United States that it didn't know Bin Laden was in the compound.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.