Pakistan on the radar after bin Laden′s death near capital | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 02.05.2011
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Pakistan on the radar after bin Laden's death near capital

The killing of Osama bin Laden in a mansion located around 50 kilometers from the Pakistani capital has raised questions on how the al Qaeda leader was able to find safe haven there for so long.

Prime Minister Gilani said he didn't know the minute details but in short we have intelligence cooperation

Prime Minister Gilani said he didn't know the minute details

Pakistan has declared the killing of Osama bin Laden a "major setback" to global terrorism, but it has raised doubts over Pakistan's loyalties in the war against al Qaeda.

The country is under pressure to explain as questions are being raised on how the al Qaeda leader, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, came to live in a mansion near a military facility.

Bin Laden was killed in a dramatic early morning raid by US helicopters and troops in his hideout in the lush, green town of Abbottabad, around 50 kilometers from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The compound is located very close to a military training facility. His death marks the end of a 10-year manhunt.

A statement of the Pakistani government states that "Osama bin Laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community, including Pakistan, to fight and eliminate terrorism."

Questions are being raised on how the al Qaeda leader was holed up in a mansion near Pakistan's military academy

Questions are being raised on how the al Qaeda leader came to live near Pakistan's military academy

Pakistani involvement

However, it is not clear to what extent the Pakistan military had been involved in the operation. There was no official comment from the government for several hours after the news of bin Laden's killing, raising the possibility that Islamabad was taken by surprise.

"I don't know minute details, but in short we have intelligence cooperation," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told AFP when he was asked about the extent to which Pakistan cooperated in the operation.

A senior US administration official said the United States had not notified Pakistani allies about the operation, citing the chief reason as the need to maintain complete secrecy around the covert operation.

Pakistan under pressure

Pakistani-US intelligence cooperation nosedived this year after a CIA contractor was detained for killing two Pakistanis in broad daylight, and US officials have criticized Pakistan's alleged double dealing with militants. Only two weeks ago, Admiral Mike Mullen, the highest ranking officer in the United States armed forces, visited Pakistan and accused the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of having ties with terrorists.

The area of a compound in Abbottabad where it is believed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived

The area of a compound in Abbottabad where it is believed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived

Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst believes the fact that bin Laden has been found in Pakistan will only put a further burden on US-Pakistan ties. He told Reuters, "For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad ... this is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan."

Analysts are warning that Pakistan is likely to be exposed to a wave of revenge from Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda who oppose Pakistan's alliance with the United States.

They add that bin Laden's death is likely to raise pressure on Pakistan and that his killing comes as an embarrassment to Pakistan.

Author: Sherpem Sherpa (Reuters/AFP)
Editor: Sarah Berning

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