News / Asia

Pakistan Criticizes US Raid, Defends Record on Terrorism

Osama bin Laden compound in Pakistan that was raided by US troops
Osama bin Laden compound in Pakistan that was raided by US troops

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday sharply criticized the U.S. operation that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in the the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

The criticism came as Pakistan's president denied allegations that his country is not actively pursuing terrorists.

A foreign ministry statement said the operation was carried out without the knowledge or authorization of Islamabad. The statement also said the country's intelligence service, the ISI, had been sharing information about bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and "other friendly intelligence agencies" since 2009.

Writing in the Washington Post newspaper on Tuesday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari defended his government's record fighting terrorists, saying that while the killing of al-Qaida leader was not a joint operation between the United States and Pakistan, Pakistan helped to identify the al-Qaida courier whose trail led U.S. intelligence officials to bin Laden's hideout.

Raw footage of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed:

There is growing criticism of Pakistan in the U.S. Congress, with calls for an investigation into how the world's most wanted terrorist was able to go unnoticed in Abbottabad, a city that has a large military presence and is home to Pakistan's military academy.  

Questions are also being raised in Pakistan concerning what the government knew about the mission to kill bin Laden. Opposition politician Haroon Akhtar says Mr. Zardari's government is keeping quiet because of fears of retaliation by extremists.  

"There is no way that I can believe that in this country four helicopters can come and jam our radar and we do not know about it then President Obama calls our President and says 'thank you very much we came in and we killed so many people”' That has not happened. It is the repercussions which we are afraid of and that is why we are quiet. That is why we don’t want to bore into the details," Akhtar said.

Many Pakistani's are angry and embarrassed over what they consider a violation of their sovereignty, and tensions are high across Pakistan following the raid.  On Tuesday the U.S. reopened its embassy in Islamabad and its consulate in Karachi, but consulates in Peshawar and Lahore remain closed due to security concerns.

Photos of world reaction to bin Laden's death

The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, who was in Islamabad as part of previously scheduled tri-lateral talks between the U.S., Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the death of bin Laden benefits all three countries.  

"The three countries that are here share the commitment to an end to violent extremism and the three countries that are represented here consider that the end of Osama bin Laden on Monday was a shared achievement of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States," Grossman said.

But now that Osama bin Laden has been killed some Pakistanis are calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, saying the reason for U.S. involvement there has been eliminated.  U.S. officials dismiss the suggestion, saying  U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to assist the Afghan government until it can stand on its own to defeat the Taliban.  But Ibrahim Khan, a member of the Pakistani parliament, is adamant that the time has come for the U.S. to quit Afghanistan.  

"The America has achieved its target, the elimination of Osama bin Laden was the target placed by America for itself. And after achieving this target now is the time for America to quit Afghanistan. There is no justification for America to stay in Afghanistan anymore," Khan said.

The conduct of the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan is extremely unpopular in Pakistan, especially the use of drone strikes to kill militants across the border in Pakistan. And there is concern here that terrorists will take revenge against Pakistanis for bin Laden's death.

In his piece for the Washington Post, President Zadari noted that the Taliban issued threats against him and his government shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden. He said Pakistan will not be "intimidated" and declared that "the war on terrorism is as much Pakistan's war as it is America's."

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