Barack Obama has said he ruled out including Pakistan in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hiding place because it was an “open secret” that certain elements within the Pakistani military, and particularly its intelligence services, had ties to the Taliban and perhaps even to Al to chat. Al-Qaeda, sometimes as a strategic asset against Afghanistan and India.
In his latest book “A Promised Land”, the former US President gave a detailed account of the attack by American commandos on Abbottabad, in which the world‘s most wanted terrorist was killed on May 2, 2011, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the President-Elect.
In the book, which went global on Tuesday, America’s first black president described the various ways to kill bin Laden when it became increasingly clear that the elusive al-Qaeda chief was in safe hiding on the outskirts of a Pakistani military canton lived in Abbottabad.
“Based on what I’d heard, I decided we had enough information to develop options for attacking the site. While the CIA team continued to work on identifying the Pacer, I asked Tom Donilon and John Brennan to investigate what a raid would look like, “writes Obama in his memoir.
The need for secrecy added to the challenge; If even the slightest hint of our lead over bin Laden had leaked, we would know our chance would be lost. As a result, only a handful of people across the federal government were involved in the planning phase of the operation, he said.
“We had one more caveat: whichever option we chose, the Pakistanis could not be included,” he wrote.
“Although the Pakistani government has worked with us on a number of counterterrorism operations and has provided our armed forces in Afghanistan with an important route of supply, it has been an open secret that certain elements within the country’s military, and particularly its intelligence services, have ties to the Taliban and the The Taliban may even have Al-Qaeda, which they sometimes use as strategic capital to ensure that the Afghan government remains weak and cannot ally itself with Pakistan’s greatest rival, India, “said Obama.
“The fact that the Abbottabad site was just a few kilometers from the Pakistani military equivalent of West Point only increased the possibility that anything we said to the Pakistanis could affect our goal.
“Whatever we wanted to do in Abbottabad would be to violate an alleged ally’s territory in the most egregious way without adding to both diplomatic and operational complexity,” he wrote.
In the final phase they discussed two options. The first was to tear it down with an air strike. The second option was to authorize a special operational mission in which a selected team covertly flew into Pakistan in a helicopter, raided the site, and disembarked before the Pakistani police or military had time to respond.
Despite all the risks involved, Obama and his national security team opted for the second option, but not before several rounds of discussions and intensive planning.
The day before he gave final approval for the raid, Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, told a meeting in the Situation Room that it was a 51-49 call.
“Gates recommended against a robbery, although he was open, considering the strike option,” he said.
“Joe (Biden) has also spoken out against the robbery, arguing that, given the enormous consequences of the failure, I should postpone any decision until the secret services are certain that bin Laden was on the premises.
“As with every important decision I’d made as president, I appreciated Joe’s willingness to defy the prevailing mood and ask difficult questions, often in the interest of giving me the space I needed for my own internal deliberations.” wrote Obama.
Following the successful attack on Abbottabad, Obama made a number of calls domestically and internationally that he expected to be the toughest with then-Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, he wrote.
“I expected my toughest phone call to be to Pakistan’s beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari, who would surely have a backlash at home for our violation of Pakistani sovereignty. However, when I reached him, he offered congratulations and support.” Fallout, “he said,” it’s very good news. “
“He showed real emotion and remembered his wife, Benazir Bhutto, being killed by extremists who allegedly had links with al-Qaeda,” wrote Obama.
“Mike Mullen had called the Pakistani Army Chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and while the conversation had been polite, Kayani had asked that we clean up the attack and its target as soon as possible to help his people deal with it. ” the reaction of the Pakistani public, “he said.
Laden, the world‘s most wanted terrorist, was the head of al-Qaeda, who carried out the 9/11 attacks on twin towers in New York, killing nearly 3,000 people. He was killed in a covert attack by a US Navy SEAL team on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.