South Asia

Bin Laden: Pakistan rejects US fear of raid leaks

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Media captionThe BBC's Orla Guerin looks around the perimeter of Bin Laden's compound

Pakistan has hit back at US claims that it could not be trusted with details of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

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

Earlier, the CIA chief said the US had not told Islamabad in advance about the raid for fear it would be jeopardised.

The US also revised its account of how it took place, saying Bin Laden was not armed when his compound was stormed.

"There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and, indeed, he resisted," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.

The al-Qaeda leader was shot dead by US special forces in Abbottabad on Sunday. US officials have said they are considering when to make public their photographs of his corpse.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Time Magazine that Islamabad had not been informed because "the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission: they might alert the targets".

In a BBC interview, Mr Bashir said Mr Panetta was entitled to his views but that his country had co-operated extensively with the US.

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.

"Most of these things that have happened in terms of global anti-terror, Pakistan has played a pivotal role," said Mr Bashir.

"So it's a little disquieting when we have comments like this."


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.

It insisted unilateral action should not become the norm and stressed that Pakistani intelligence had been sharing information with the US in recent years.

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

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 and was American's most wanted man.

The compound in which he was killed is about a kilometre from the Pakistan Military Academy - the country's equivalent of Sandhurst or West Point.

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.

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Media captionWhite House Press Secretary Jay Carney: Bin Laden not armed, but did resist

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.

However, the Pakistani foreign ministry statement said that the rest of Bin Laden's family are now "in safe hands and being looked after in accordance with the law".

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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