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US kept Pakistan in the dark

world Updated: May 03, 2011 01:52 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
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Did Pakistan know that a team of US Navy Seals soldiers raided Abbottabad on Sunday afternoon? Senior US official said information about the raid was shared with Pakistan only after the raid was over and Osama bin Laden was dead.

"We didn't share our intelligence about this compound with no other country, including Pakistan," the official said.

"That was for one reason and one reason alone - we believed it was essential to the security of the operation and our personnel."

Even in the US government, only a small group of people knew of it.

The Pakistanis were informed about it immediately after the raid was over. Although the two countries are fighting terrorism as allies, the trust level is shaky between the two. The US suspects Pakistani officials, especially of the ISI, of colluding with the Taliban.

They are not even told about terrorists targeted by CIA's drones in Pakistan.

Relations between the two countries were strained after Pakistan demanded that the CIA either end drone attacks or scale down the number of its operatives.

Recently, a CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, was caught by Pakistani authorities and held in custody for killing two persons, despite US pressure to release him on diplomatic grounds.

Davis was released after a substantial amount of money was paid to families of those killed by him.

Pak army knew it?
Residents of Thanda Chua locality of Abbottabad say Pakistani army personnel had alerted them on Sunday night of a military exercise and asked them to stay indoors.

They were also told to switch off their lights. They say the soldiers spoke to them Pushto, the local language.

If what the residents say are true, then it indicate some level of cooperation between the US special forces and the Pakistani military. But analysts doubt the possibility of high-level cooperation. They believe the US team that raided the house came from a base in Afghanistan.

This contradicts an earlier claim that the US forces may have launched their operation from within Pakistan.

The Pakistani government is still keeping silent. There is no confirmation or denial of the operation, and officials said a press conference will be arranged at the foreign office soon.

Meanwhile, ministers and military leaders went into a huddle at the president's office on Monday morning. President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Chief of Army Staff General Kayani and head of ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha met at 11am.

Political analyst Syed Rifaat Hussain said there seems to have been no coordination between Pakistan and the US on this raid.

"The fact that the Pakistani government has remained silent for so long suggests that it is in shock, and it is trying to figure out what to do," Hussain said.