They knew where bin Laden was. For years.
Journalist Carlotta Gall, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times for twelve years, reported Wednesday that
“soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. ‘He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,’ the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so.”
He shouldn’t have been. It has been obvious for years that the Pakistanis have been aiding the same jihadists that the U.S. government has been giving them billions of dollars to fight. The New York Times reported on that at length back in 2008. And now we learn that not only did Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani government’s spy service, knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but also that so did many other top officials in the Pakistani government.
Those who are genuinely surprised by this news probably also think that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a Tiny Minority of Extremists. After all, this is the country where the jihad terror leader Hafiz Saeed, on whom the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty, lives openly and comfortably. International Business Times reported in early March that Saeed “lives as a free man in Lahore,” even though he is “chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JUD), a parent organisation of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). The organization was implicated in the 2008 attacks on Mumbai in India, which claimed 166 lives.” Not only that, but “Pakistan had twice placed Saeed under house arrest since 2001, but had let him go under suspicious circumstances.” And today, “JUD operates quite visibly in parts of Pakistan, with its own website and a twitter page.”
Meanwhile, Sky News reported in January that “Pakistani officials have reportedly used a secret counter-terrorism fund to buy wedding gifts, luxury carpets and gold jewellery for relatives of ministers and visiting dignitaries.” This is better than funneling to the terrorists themselves the money that the Pakistani government received from the U.S. to fight terror, but it shows how seriously the Pakistani authorities have taken their role in the “war on terror”: not seriously at all.
But they do take some things very seriously indeed. Last November, after Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike, the Pakistani government was furious, and summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest. The Pakistani foreign minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said the killing of Mehsud was “not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts” and warned that “every aspect” of Pakistan’s relationship with Washington would be reexamined.
And last summer, Pakistan’s Abbottabad Commission, which was an investigation into the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden, denounced the United States as “arrogant” and said that the killing of bin Laden was the “greatest humiliation” that Pakistan had suffered since the 1971 declaration of independence by East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
None of this should be a surprise to anyone. Last summer the Associated Press reported of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that “critics worry that Sharif, who is known to be personally very religious, is soft on Islamic extremism and won’t crack down on militants that pose a serious threat to Pakistan and other countries -- chief among them the Taliban and al-Qaida-linked groups.”
But he has shown that he knows how to keep the gravy train flowing from Washington. Despite all the evidence above and much more that Pakistan is not a reliable U.S. ally and not even really an ally at all, last November the U.S. and Pakistan agreed to continue their “counter-terrorism co-operation” even after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. A joint statement declared:
“Affirming their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, the delegations agreed that Pakistan-US defence partnership is vital to regional and international security and that it should continue to endure and grow in the years ahead. Both delegations welcomed continued efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests and trust.”
Mutual interests? Trust?
The U.S. government is in dire need of an intervention: its friends need to get it to seek professional help for its addiction to shoveling huge amounts of money to old Cold War allies that aren’t really allies at all. The problem is that the only friends who could stage such an orchestrated effort are just as far gone themselves.
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