Pakistan defends its terror record, warns US against future raids

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing, Pakistan is defending itself against accusations that it was complicit in hiding the Al Qaeda leader.

By , Correspondent

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    In this May 3 photo, media and local residents gather outside the house where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was caught and killed, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
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The killing of Osama bin Laden is adding fuel to the argument between Washington and Islamabad over whether Pakistan is doing enough to fight terror within its borders.

Despite initial comments that the operation was a "joint partnership," the US has since announced that Pakistan was not involved, nor privy to prior knowledge about the raid.

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The fact that Washington acted unilaterally could increase anti-US sentiment among Pakistanis, many who are already angry over covert US operations and drone attacks.

On Tuesday, the Pakistani government called the bin Laden operation an "unauthorized unilateral action" and warned it "would not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US."

The discovery that bin Laden was hiding in a city filled with military personnel has led to accusations that Pakistani intelligence was lax in its efforts to find bin Laden. Some Pakistan detractors have gone as far as accusing Pakistan's version of the CIA, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of keeping him hidden.

In a column published in the Washington Post Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari launched an early defense against such accusations, even before many of the charges surfaced:

Some in the US press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact.

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir on Wednesday said that Pakistan had informed the US of its suspicions about a compound in Abbottabad in 2009, according to Pakistani newspaper the Dawn.

In Abbottabad, residents said they were alarmed to hear that the Pakistani military didn't handle the operation, according to the Monitor. "The Pakistan Army is based here, why weren't they trusted to arrest him?" one resident asked. “For the Americans to come here and take people away from our area is a big insult to us. If I had been there I would have killed the Americans myself," another said.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad were recently strained by the Raymond Davis case. The CIA contractor, who shot and killed two Pakistani men, was recently freed from Pakistani custody after "blood money was paid to the families" of the men, according to the Monitor.

After the bin Laden operation, CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the US opted not to share details with Pakistan because it feared that bin Laden might be alerted, according to Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf defended the country's intelligence agency against accusations that it knew bin Laden's whereabouts. "I think the ISI must be utterly stupid to put them in such a prominent place, hiding them in such a prominent place. That is not something the ISI would have done. Certainly not. So let’s not accuse the ISI," he said.

General Musharraf said the compound is along the route he used to run as a military cadet years ago, making it likely that current cadets ran past the compound daily, according to The Telegraph.

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