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Pak forces, CIA hunted down Osama together: Report

May 02, 2011 13:30 IST

Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan's most well-informed and well-connected journalists, has claimed that the operation to kill Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was done with the full knowledge and assistance of Pakistan's army.
When queried on the matter, Mir sarcastically said, "In one stroke, Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari has done more to help America than (former Pakistan president) General Pervez Musharraf could ever do."

He said, "The operation was conducted by the Pakistan army and the CIA on Sunday night at nearly 1 am. The Pakistan army provided ground support and American forces conducted the raid. It was a joint operation. One helicopter was shot down in the operation."
Mir also said, "The successful operation to kill Osama would strengthen bilateral relations between US and Pakistan. After all, America khush hua hai (America is satisfied.)"

According to a report in The Dawn, a prestigious Karachi daily, the operation that killed Laden was carried out jointly by Pakistan's security forces and the Central Intelligence Agency.

An official of the security forces, who is based in Peshawar, told the daily, "It was a joint operation between the CIA and Pakistani security forces."

The Dawn quoted the official as saying, "It (operation) was carried out on very precise information that some high-value target is there."

The report also mentions that a Pakistani military helicopter crashed near Abbottabad on Sunday night, killing one and injuring two, according to local media reports.

It was not clear if the crash had any connection with bin Laden's death, but witnesses reported gunshots and heavy firing before one of two low-flying helicopters crashed near the Pakistani Military Academy.

The killing of bin Laden on Pakistani soil will surely blow up into a bigger issue. Abbotabad is too uncomfortably close to Islamabad. It is nearly a 150-minute drive from Islamabad.
Sensing that the issue will seriously dent Pakistan's credibility, some kind of damage control has already started.
The Dawn, while quoting former general Talat Masood, said the fact that bin Laden was killed in a joint operation would limit the damage to Pakistan's image.
"There should be a sigh of relief because this will take some pressure off Pakistan," said Masood.

He further explained, "Pakistan has most probably contributed to this and Pakistan can take some credit for this; (Osama) being such an iconic figure, it's a great achievement."

Sheela Bhatt