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Osama killing: Kayani demanded that Obama publicly explain

May 03, 2012 15:30 IST

An "emotional" Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari expressed happiness while his powerful army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani was left "shocked" and demanded a public explanation from American President Barack Obama when the United States told them about Osama Bin Laden's killing in Abbottabad.

On May 2 last year when Admiral Mike Mullen, the then Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Kayani, to inform him about the unilateral raid, the latter, who was shocked to listen about it, demanded that Obama should go public and explain the entire incident as soon as possible.

"Kayani, in effect, demanded that Obama publicly explain what had happened as soon as it was feasible to do so. Mullen walked back into the Situation Room and said, 'Kayani has asked for us to go public,' which swayed Obama to go forward," Peter Bergen, writes in his latest book 'Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad' that hit the stands this week.

According to the book, Kayani said, "Our people need to understand what happened here. We're not going to be able to manage the Pakistani media without you confirming this.

"You can explain it to them. They need to understand that this was bin Laden and not just some ordinary US operation".

Once the operation was over, Bergen writes in his book, Obama called Zardari, and told him the news.

"Zardari became emotional. His wife, Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, had been assassinated by the Taliban four years earlier. Zardari told Obama, 'I'm happy because these are the same types of people who killed my wife, and her people are my family, so I share in this'.

"Admiral Mullen then got through to General Kayani, on a secure line. 'Congratulations', Kayani immediately said upon hearing the news about bin Laden. The conversation lasted a tense twenty minutes," the book says.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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