After the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, top Bush administration officials told Pakistan there was "irrefutable" intelligence proof that Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) was responsible, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
The warning was conveyed to Islamabad in a series of December 2008 meetings, the influential US daily said Sunday citing what it called "a series of contemporaneous written accounts. chronicling three years of often-contentious meetings involving top officials of both countries."
A written communication delivered to Pakistan then said that "it is clear to us that (Lashkar-i-Taiba) is responsible ... we know that it continues to receive support, including operational support, from the Pakistani military intelligence service"
Recounting these and other US warnings to Pakistan over the years, the Post cited senior US officials as saying, "two weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration remains uncertain and divided over the future of its relationship with Pakistan."
The discovery of the Al Qaeda leader in the garrison town of Abbottabad near Pakistan's capital has pushed many in the administration beyond any willingness to tolerate Pakistan's ambiguous connections with extremist groups, it said.
"After years of ineffective American warnings, many US officials are concluding that a change in policy is long overdue," the Post said.
Confirmed by US and Pakistani participants, the exchanges portray a circular debate in which the United States repeatedly said it had irrefutable proof of ties between Pakistani military and intelligence officials and the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents and warned that Pakistani refusal to act against them would exact a cost, the daily reported.
US officials have said they have no evidence top Pakistani military or civilian leaders were aware of bin Laden's location or authorized any official support, but his residence within shouting distance of Pakistani military installations has brought relations to a crisis point, it said.
Some officials, particularly in the White House, have advocated strong reprisals, the daily said.
But few officials are eager to contemplate the alternatives if Pakistan makes the wrong choice. No one inside the administration, it noted citing an official as saying, "wants to make a fast, wrong decision.