Despite acknowledging the death of bin Laden as an “important milestone against terrorism”, Pakistan expresses “deep concerns” at the manner of the US operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader.
A firm statement from the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has highlighted the level of unease in the administration over the US mission to kill Osama bin Laden, conducted without any prior authorisation from the Pakistan Government.
The statement, issued on Tuesday, was in response to claims that no intelligence had been shared between the US and Pakistan, made by current CIA boss Leon Panetta.
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry contests this, claiming: “As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till mid April 2011.”
The statement goes on to question the nature of the secret mission by the US:
“The Government of Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the Government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the Government of Pakistan.
“The Government of Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the Government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the Government of Pakistan.” Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“This event of unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule. The Government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also sometime constitute threat to international peace and security.”
Unauthorized military action in Pakistan has sparked a series of diplomatic clashes over the last year, with questions over the legality of the deployment of US drone weapons in Waziristan to the north of the country. This latest mission, involving US Navy SEALs in a ground mission on Pakistan soil, has raised significant questions about the working relationship between Pakistan and the US.
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“It is important to highlight that taking advantage of much superior technological assets, CIA exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin Ladin, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and Secretary of State, in their statements,” said the Foreign Ministry.
The statement also re-asserted that claims that US helicopters took off within Pakistan air space were untrue and that they had actually managed to fly in undetected through radar blind spots in the mountainous region.
In reference to continued criticism that Pakistan intelligence was poor and had contributed nothing to the US mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attempted to make it clear that their continued mission to combat terrorism had contributed to quelling the threat from al-Qaeda across the country.
“Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies have played a pivotal role in breaking the back of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan as well as around the world,” it said. “Most of the successes achieved by the US and some other friendly countries have been the result of effective intelligence cooperation and extremely useful military support by Pakistan.”