Osama Bin Laden Death One Year On
Osama Bin Laden Death One Year On, Speculation has raged about how much Pakistan knew about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan and the raid that killed him. But so far no evidence has emerged of high-level collusion with bin Laden. Rob Crilly looks at the aftermath.
The American ambassador’s phone rang shortly after 3am.
It was Salman Bashir, the civil servant who heads Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Mr Ambassador, we have reports of a helicopter crashing in Abbottabad. All our helicopters are accounted for.
“Do you know anything about it?”
Cameron Munter, who had already got used to dealing with crises since being sent to Islamabad six months early, kept his reply diplomatically short: “We’ll look into it.” A note of dawning realisation crept into Mr Bashir’s voice. “Mr Ambassador, I didn’t wake you did I?”
The phone conversation – described by an official familiar with the exchange – reveals how Pakistan was kept in the dark even after the raid had ended, and the rapid sense of shock that gripped the country.
Ever since May 2, speculation has raged about how much Pakistan knew about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan and the raid that killed him. But so far no evidence has emerged of high-level collusion with bin Laden.
Talat Masood, a retired general, said the political and military leadership were thrown into crisis by their failure to detect approaching US helicopters and the presence of the world’s most wanted man under their noses.
“There was a huge amount of embarrassment and shock but that has faded now,” he said.
“In the longer term, his legacy lives on with those groups that draw inspiration from him, and in some ways they are much more dangerous than bin Laden was in his final years.”
For the truth is that a year after the mission to kill bin Laden, Pakistan remains home to the world’s most wanted man as well as a slew of America’s most lethal enemies. (Telegraph)
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