South Asia

Bin Laden: Pakistan says world intelligence failed

Pakistan's prime minister says spy agencies worldwide share the blame for his country's failure to capture Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by US forces.

"We have intelligence failure of the rest of the world including the United States," PM Yousuf Raza Gilani said.

Pakistan has been criticised for not locating Bin Laden, who was living near the country's main military academy.

The CIA head has said the US did not tell Islamabad of the raid in advance, for fear it would be jeopardised.

Meanwhile the US has revised its account of how the operation took place.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that Bin Laden was not armed when his compound was stormed by US special forces in the early hours of Monday.

"There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and, indeed, he resisted," he said.

Initially US officials had said the al-Qaeda chief was shot while taking part in a firefight. Mr Carney blamed the initial confusion on the need to provide detailed accounts of a complex military operation quickly.

US officials have said they are considering when to make public their photographs of his body.

'Incompetent'

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Paris on Wednesday, Mr Gilani said: "There is intelligence failure of the whole world, not Pakistan alone."

He added that Pakistan needed "the support of the entire world" to combat militants.

"We are fighting and paying a heavy price," he said, adding that his government was "fighting not only for Pakistan but for the peace, prosperity and progress of the whole world".

Earlier his foreign minister questioned the suggestion by CIA Director Leon Panetta that Pakistan could not be trusted with details of the operation.

In unusually frank remarks, Mr Panetta told Time magazine: "It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission. They might alert the targets."

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told the BBC that this view was "disquieting" and his country had a "pivotal role" in tackling terrorism.

He said the compound in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was shot dead had been identified as suspicious some time ago by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

But it took the greater resources of the CIA to determine that it was the al-Qaeda leader's hiding place, he added.

Several governments in Europe also say Islamabad has questions to answer about what it knew.

US lawmakers are calling for billions of dollars in aid for Pakistan to be reduced or stopped altogether.

Meanwhile, about 70 lawyers staged a rally in Abbottabad on Wednesday, chanting anti-US slogans and shouting that Bin Laden was their "hero".

On Tuesday, Pakistan's foreign ministry defended the ISI and issued a lengthy statement in which it expressed "deep concerns and reservations" about the US action.

"As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009," it said.

American's most wanted man, Bin Laden, aged 54, was the founder and leader of al-Qaeda.

He is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, as well as a number of other deadly bombings.

The compound in which he was killed is about a kilometre from the Pakistan Military Academy.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Abbottabad says that if Bin Laden had been there for as long as five years, it raises questions about the Pakistani authorities.

Either they were incredibly incompetent or were harbouring the al-Qaeda leader, our correspondent says.

Two couriers and one woman died in the assault, while one of Bin Laden's wives was injured.

The US has not commented on anyone it captured or had planned to capture, other than saying it had taken Bin Laden's body, which was buried at sea.

US officials are discussing how and when to release pictures of Bin Laden's body to counter conspiracy theories that he did not die.

Mr Carney said the "gruesome" image could inflame sensitivities, but Mr Panetta said there was no question it would at some point be shown to the public.

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