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Osama raid left deep imprint on Pak armed forces

By Rezaul H Laskar
August 20, 2011 22:37 IST

The American raid that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May has left a "very deep imprint" on Pakistan and its armed forces, which had never considered the United States as a "direct threat", Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali said on Saturday.

Ali, a retired lieutenant general, made the remarks while deposing before the inquiry commission probing the US raid and bin Laden's presence in the country.

He said no government department, the Defence Ministry, the Joint Staff Headquarters or any military service "has ever considered the US or Afghanistan as a direct threat".

The Pakistani armed forces "are now better prepared to respond to any" recurrence of incident and adequate safeguards have been put in place, he said.

The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed Iqbal, has been asked by the government to ascertain how the Al Qaeda leader managed to live in Pakistan for several years, investigate the US operation that killed him, determine the nature and causes of lapses by authorities, and make suitable recommendations.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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