News / Asia

Pakistan Finds 'Gross-Incompetence' in Bin Laden Case

This May 2, 2011 file photo shows Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan shortly after the raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.
This May 2, 2011 file photo shows Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan shortly after the raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.
Ayaz Gul
In Pakistan, a government-formed commission’s report has blamed “gross incompetence and negligence” at practically all levels of national security system for failing to detect the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country for years and the covert US raid that eliminated the al-Qaida leader on May 2, 2011.  
The so-called Abbottabad Commission was set up shortly after U.S. special forces raided Osama Bin Laden’s hideout deep inside Pakistan.

The four-member commission, headed by a former Supreme Court justice, was assigned to determine circumstances leading to the unilateral US raid and the presence of the world’s most wanted man in the garrison town of Abbottabad for years without being detected.  

While the Pakistani government has yet to officially publish findings of the long awaited report, it was leaked to local and foreign news networks late on Monday.

The head of the commission, Javed Iqbal, told local TV channels on Tuesday the report was submitted to the government in January so it could be shared with the public. He dismissed criticism for taking 18 months to complete the inquiry, saying they recorded testimony of more than 200 witnesses  and sources including members of Bin Laden’s family, as well as top military and civilian officials.

He says his team also had to closely examine translations of “7,000 documents and a 350-page diary, both written in Arabic” to complete the job. Pakistani authorities had seized the material from Bin Laden’s residence in Abbottabad soon after his killing in the American operation.

The 336-page report offers details about life on the run for the al-Qaida leader and evidence of “gross incompetence” at all levels within Pakistani civil and military institutions for failing to detect Bin Laden’s presence in the country.

Mushahid Hussain, who heads Defense Affairs Committee of the Pakistani Senate, says the findings are disturbing.

“Because the report reveals that not only did the intelligence fail to focus on this high-profile person (OBL) in Pakistan territory for a number of years, but also the fact that just before the operation of 2nd of May by the US army there was a CIA station (in Abbottabad), which was also monitoring Bin Laden’s activity, and even that CIA station was off the radar screen from our security system. So I think there was a double jeopardy involved as far as intelligence is concerned,” Hussain said.

Senator Hussain says the commission’s report must lead to an inquiry and internal reforms in Pakistan's security services to prevent future embarrassments.

“Because now the primary focus should not be any blame game or finger pointing. That is not the answer. The answer is to ensure that what has happened does not recur,” he added.

The Bin Laden raid was seen as a major embarrassment for the powerful Pakistani military, and especially for its spy agency, the ISI, which is often accused of having close ties to Afghan Taliban insurgents and al-Qaida militants. But the commission’s report did not conclude that the ISI or any another state security agency was involved in sheltering Bin Laden.

There has long been speculation that al-Qaida’s current chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is also hiding in Pakistan, and Afghan officials repeatedly allege that fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Omar and his deputies are also living in Pakistan with the support of the ISI -- something Pakistani authorities deny.

The unilateral American raid that killed Bin Laden strained ties between Islamabad and Washington. US officials maintain they did not inform Pakistan because of fears the al-Qaida leader would be tipped off.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs