Osama bin Laden: Pakistan’s double-cross

The hideout of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is pictured after his death by US Special Forces in a ground operation in Abbottabad.

Pakistan faced enormous embarrassment yesterday after Osama bin Laden was killed, raising questions over whether its military and intelligence were too incompetent to catch him themselves or knew all along where he was hiding.

The killing of the world’s most wanted man in a house just a few kilometers from Pakistan’s version of the West Point military academy will only fuel suspicions that the country has been playing a double game over Islamist militants.

“There will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad,” said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst. “This is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, failed to return repeated calls for comment yesterday.

Just how much the Pakistani military knew of the raid on bin Laden’s mansion hideout is not clear.

For one thing, analysts say, it would have been difficult for the U.S. Special Forces to act without some logistical military assistance on the ground.

Hours after the assault, about 200 Islamists held a rally in the city of Quetta in the southwestern province of Baluchistan to condemn the killing. The protesters, from a small Islamist party, chanted “down with America,” and “Long live Osama bin Laden.”

Town in shock at US raid

Residents of Abbottabad were jolted from their sleep by explosions, unaware the hunt for the world’s most wanted man was coming to a bloody end just yards away.

“We saw flames and heard gunshots,” said Mohammad Idrees, who lives about 400 yards away from the compound. Pakistani soldiers stopped people approaching the compound, which they cordoned off with a canvas screen.


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