Washington, May 2: Pakistan was kept in dark till the operation to kill Osama bin Laden was successfully accomplished inside the country close to the capital Islamabad, the US officials said.
After the four helicopters carrying US special forces swooped down and killed the world's most wanted man as he was holed up in a two-storey house, just 100 yards from the Pakistani Military Academy, US President Barack Obama called his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari to inform him of the mission accomplished.
“We are very concerned that he (bin Laden) was inside Pakistan, but this is something that we're going to continue to work with the Pakistani government on,” a senior administration official said.
The Obama Administration shared intelligence on the bin Laden operation with no other country, including Pakistan, sources said.“That was for one reason and one reason alone: We believed it was essential to the security of the operation and our personnel... that only a very small group of people inside our own government knew of the operation,” an official said. Shortly after the raid, US officials contacted senior Pakistani leaders to brief them on the intent and the results of the raid.
But even now, the US officials have not made it clear from where the helicopters and special forces undertook the operation.The United States has also contacted a number of its close allies and partners throughout the world. Giving reasons for not contacting Islamabad, officials said since 9/11, the US has made it clear to Pakistan that the US would pursue bin Laden wherever he might be.
“Pakistan has long understood that we are at war with al Qaeda. The United States had a legal and moral obligation to act on the information it had,” the official said. An operation like this that is conducted has the utmost operational security attached to it.
“We had shared this information with no other country, and that a very, very small group of individuals within the United States government was aware of this. That is for operational security purposes,” the official said.
The official recollected the words of President Obama, who over a period of several years now, has repeatedly made it clear that if the US had actionable intelligence about Osama bin Laden's whereabouts, it would act.
“So President Obama has been very clear in delivering that message publicly over a period of years. And that's what led President Obama to order this operation. When he determined that the intelligence was actionable and the intelligence case was sufficient, he gave us high confidence that bin Laden indeed was at the compound,” the official said. Great care was taken to ensure operational success, minimize the possibility of non-combatant casualties, and to adhere to American and international law in carrying out the mission.
“As the President said, Pakistani cooperation had assisted in this lead, as we pursued it. So we're continuing to work this issue right now,” the official noted. PTI