Pakistan Embarrassed over Bin Laden Failure

World | May 3, 2011, Tuesday // 16:36|  views

Pakistani security officials grant access to journalists to cover the compound where Osama Bin Laden, the leader of terrorist network Al-Qaeda was killed by US military forces, in Abbottabad, Pakistan on 03 May 2011. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI, has said it is embarrassed by its failures on al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

An ISI official told the BBC the compound in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was killed by US forces on Sunday had been raided in 2003.

But since then "the compound was not on our radar, it is an embarrassment for the ISI", the official said. "We're good, but we're not God."

The compound is just a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy - the country's equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst.

But the compound "was not on our radar" since then, the official said.

He gave new details of the raid, saying Bin Laden's young daughter had said she saw her father shot.

Those who survived the attack included a wife, a daughter and eight to nine other children, not apparently Bin Laden's; all had their hands tied by the Americans, the ISI official said.

According to him there were 17-18 people in the compound at the time of the attack and the Americans took away one person still alive, possibly a Bin Laden son.

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, President Asif Ali Zardari admitted Bin Laden "was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be", but denied this to be Pakistan's failure.

Zardari said Pakistan had "never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media".

"Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect fact," he said.

"Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation. The war on terrorism is as much Pakistan's war as it is America's."

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir tried to draw a line under the matter, saying: "Who did what is beside the point... This issue of Osama Bin Laden is history."

Bin Laden, 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.

Bin Laden, his son Khalid, trusted personal courier Sheikh Abu Ahmed and the courier's brother were all killed, along with an unidentified woman.

Bin Laden was shot above his left eye, blowing away a section of his skull, and was also shot in the chest.

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Tags: al-Qaeda, ISI, Pakistan, bin Laden, Osama, Pakistan, president, Asif, Ali, Zardari


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