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Osama death puts Pakistan's spin specialists in tizzy

world Updated: May 03, 2011 21:58 IST

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Outwitted by US helicopters that flew from Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Abbottabad, near Islamabad to kill al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's military and intelligence have claimed that the air detection systems were jammed by the Americans.

As part of moves to explain the embarrassment of how 79 US Navy SEALs in an air borne operation carried out the sensational hit on Monday, intelligence sleuths scrambled hard to put a spin to the incident. The spins ran contradictory.

While one unidentified Pakistani military official said the helicopters succeeded in avoiding detection by flying low at tree-top level to evade detection, another officer claimed the air defence systems had been jammed by the Americans, Dawn reported.

Despite the accusations of complicity with militants, none of the Pakistan's military or ISI top brass has come out publicly to comment on the daring US raid. Instead, it was left to civilian leaders to explain the doubts raised by media which questioned how the raid could take place without the knowledge of the Pakistani security establishment.

Pakistan's ambassador to US, Hussain Haqqani, said "intelligence failures are not unique to the ISI".

In a television talk in the US, Haqqani said, "We will enquire into the causes of what happened. But it is really important not to turn it into allegations of complicity."

The ISI, formed in 1948, plays a key political role in the country, which has spent half of its 64 years of existence under military rule. The agency became all powerful after the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, when it started funneling arms and funds to Afghan resistance groups.

Barely days before the US raid, top US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen accused the ISI of having "long-standing" ties with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network.

Though the Pakistani military establishment tried to put a spin, that such an operation could not go unnoticed, American officials have said 'Operation Geronimo' that killed bin Laden was a pure US affair.

By the time Pakistani military was scrambling fighters to intercept the choppers, the US SEALs were already back across the border in Afghanistan. "Thankfully, there was no engagement with the Pakistani forces," John Brennan, President Barack Obama's Adviser on counter-terrorism, said about the 40-minute operation, not far away from Pakistan's capital Islamabad.