US given ground support for get-Osama raid
KABUL (PAN): US Navy SEALs received strategic ground support and intelligence tips for an operation that led to the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader -- the world’s most wanted man -- in northwestern Pakistan in May 2011, an inquiry commission's report reveals.
Leaked to a popular Arab TV channel, the report blames local authorities for complacency, collective failure and negligence that enabled Osama bin Laden (OBL) to live undetected in Swat, Mansehra and Abbottabad for more than nine years.
"OBL was able to stay within Abbottabad Cantonment limits due to a collective failure of the military and intelligence authorities, police and the civilian administration. This failure included negligence and incompetence and at some undetermined level a grave complicity may or may not have involved," it adds.
How the entire neighbourhood, local officials, police, security and intelligence personnel failed to notice the size, the strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors over a period of nearly six years defied belief, according to the 336-page document on the Al Jazeera website.
The report continued if leads or abnormalities had been followed up professionally, the outcome would have been different than the covert US raid that violated Pakistan sovereignty. OBL fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, arriving in Pakistan in the spring or summer of 2002, his wives told investigators.
Finding the Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan and sharing this intelligence with the government was the responsibility of the Inter-Services Intelligence, the report says, faulting the dumping of OBL's body in Indian Ocean by the Americans.
The commission quoted religious scholars as saying Islam does not allow burial at sea of the people who die on the land. No pictures of OBL's body were released, but there have been an unauthenticated WikiLeaks report that in fact his corpse was taken to the US.
US Navy SEALs handcuffed the surviving women and some of the children and collected a treasure trove of information in the shape of hard drives, thumb disks and written material, finds the five-member commission led by Justice Javed Iqbal.
The US special troops, who had flown into Pakistan on board four helicopters that were not detected by PAF radars, remained in the country for about three hours, including up to 38 minutes in the garrison city.
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