Pakistan should be grateful to US for death of bin Laden

An official report on the killing of the world’s leading terrorist, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan by U.S. special forces reflects a mindset that is at once disturbing and dangerous.

By characterizing the secret operation on May 2, 2011, as an “American act of war against Pakistan” and a reflection of the United States’ “contemptuous disregard of Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity in the arrogant certainty of its unmatched military might,” the special commission chose to ignore why the Obama administration chose to keep the Pakistanis in the dark.

Indeed, the judge-led Abbottabad commission — bin Laden had lived six years in Abbattobad, which is 35 miles from the capital, Islamabad — harshly criticized Pakistan’s intelligence and security forces for their “collective incompetence and negligence” in not detecting bin Laden’s presence deep inside the country.

Bin Laden, who was singularly responsible for terrorist attacks around the world, including the Sept. 1, 2001, attack on America’s homeland that claimed 3,000 lives, had eluded capture or death during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, where he had established training camps with the blessing of the Taliban Islamic extremist government in Kabul.

Bin Laden and members of his inner circle escaped into the remote mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and then ultimately set up house in Abbottabad.

It is ironic that the walled-in compound where he, his wives and children lived was in the shadow of a military installation.

It is noteworthy that the commission, in its report which was first made public by al-Jazeera, gave credence to the long-standing suspicion that members of Pakistan’s intelligence establishment and the armed forces have been co-opted by radical Islamists.

It was this concern about the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate being staffed by individuals who were supportive of bin Laden’s terrorist organization, al-Qaida, that prompted President Obama and his national security team to conduct the secret search-and-destroy operation deep within Pakistan.

If the commission conceded that pro-Islamic agents had infiltrated the ISI, why would members then harshly criticize the U.S. for going after bin Laden without informing the government in Islamabad?

Safe passage

There’s no doubt that had the Pakistanis been informed by the White House about the impending operation, bin Laden would have been warned and even given safe passage to the remote tribal areas.

Pakistan, which has been targeted by pro-Islamic groups, including al-Qaida, has experienced many terrorist bombings and killings. And yet, there is a mindset that would rather blame the United States for going after bin Laden than thanking the White House for getting rid of the scourge of society.

Bin Laden had made it clear that his goal was to install governments throughout the Arab world that adhered to sharia Islamic law. Pakistan, with its nuclear weapons, is one of the main targets of Islamic extremists.

The killing of bin Laden and other key leaders of al-Qaida has given the government in Islamabad some breathing room.

Pakistanis should be grateful to the Obama administration, rather than treating America as the enemy.

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