The “New York Times” (June 15,2011) has claimed that the Pakistani authorities have detained a Major and four other Pakistani nationals during the course of their in-house enquiry into the security lapses at Abbottabad on May 2 which enabled the US naval commandos to carry out a clandestine raid into the house of Osama bin Laden near the Army Training Centre and kill him without the Pakistani security forces being able to detect and counter the raid by the US naval commandos.
In the wake of the detection of the house of OBL, who had been living there undetected for over five years, two important issues needed to be enquired into:
-Whether there was any Governmental or non-Governmental complicity that enabled OBL to live in that house undetected and, if so, at what level and who were involved?
Pakistani authorities have detained a Major and four other Pakistani nationals during the course of their in-house enquiry into the security lapses at Abbottabad on May 2″¦
-What were the security lapses in the garrison town of Abbottabad that were taken advantage of by the US to successfully carry out the raid without being detected and countered by the Pakistan Army and Air Force?
The focus of the Pakistani enquiries so far has been on the second issue. No action has been taken on the first issue. It is during the course of the enquiry into the second issue that the Pakistanis are reported to have detained five of their nationals, including a Major, on a charge of assisting the US. The circumstances of their detention would show that they were probably assisting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) without the knowledge of their superiors. The Major is reported to have supplied to the CIA lists of the number plates of the vehicles going into OBL’s Abbottabad house and coming out later. One does not have details of what assistance the other detained persons were giving to the CIA. There is no evidence to show that the detained persons were aware that the CIA required these details because it suspected that OBL was living in that house.
The circumstances of their detention would show that they were probably assisting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) without the knowledge of their superiors.
The supposition is still strong in the US governmental circles that OBL could not have lived undetected for over five years at his Abbottabad house without the benefit of local support , but no evidence in support of this supposition has been found by the Americans during the interrogation of the three wives of OBL who are in Pakistani custody or during the course of their examination of the documents and computer material seized by them at OBL’s house. The Pakistanis have not yet started serious enquiries into this matter.
The enquiries by the Pakistanis are in the direction of identifying and detaining those who might have helped the CIA wittingly or unwittingly as a warning to others not to extend any informal assistance to the CIA and other US agencies without official clearance. Leon Panetta, the outgoing Director of the CIA, was reported to have taken up the matter with the Pakistani leaders during his visit to Islamabad last week.
The main purpose of his visit was to soften the continuing feeling of hurt in the Pakistani GHQ over the unilateral Abbottabad raid by the US naval commandos and to reverse the downgrading of the co-operation with the US by the Pakistani agencies. This downgrading has lowered and affected the US intelligence presence in Pakistan and practically suspended the training of the Pakistani para-military units operating in the tribal belt against Al Qaeda and other terrorist affiliates by the US Special Forces. It has also strengthened the Pakistani reluctance to launch operations against the terrorists operating in North Waziristan.