New York, Aug 2 : It seems Pakistani military was caught off guard not once but twice by the Americans who not only breached its airspace during the May 2 raid to kill Osama bin Laden but also flew in back from Afghanistan hours later with the body of the al-Qaeda leader on way to his sea burial.
At dawn on May 2, bin Laden's body was loaded into the belly of a flip-wing V-22 Osprey chopper in Afghanistan, accompanied by a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) liaison officer and a security detail of military police, the New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue detailing finer aspects of the entire operation.
The Osprey flew south, destined for the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, a 1,000-foot-long nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sailing in the Arabian Sea, off the Pakistani coast for the sea burial of the slain al-Qaeda chief.
"The Americans, yet again, were about to traverse Pakistani airspace without permission. Some officials worried that the Pakistanis, stung by the humiliation of the unilateral raid in Abbottabad, might restrict the Osprey's access. The airplane ultimately landed on the Vinson without incident," the report said.
Interestingly, the report said the Abbottabad raid was not DEVGRU's (Naval Special Warfare Development Group that killed bin Laden) maiden venture into Pakistan.
"The team had surreptitiously entered the country on ten to twelve previous occasions," a special-operations officer, who is deeply familiar with the bin Laden raid, was quoted as saying.
Most of those missions were forays into North and South Waziristan, where many military and intelligence analysts had thought that bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were hiding. The report said only one such operation -- the September, 2008 raid of Angoor Ada, a village in South Waziristan -- has been widely reported. PTI