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Pakistan

Pakistan in eye of storm over Bin Laden killing

Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The United States has closed its embassy and three consulates in Pakistan until further notice, amid fears of reprisals and questions about who in Pakistan knew of Osama Bin Laden's hideout.  

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US anti-terror advisor and former senior CIA officer John Brennan has revealed that Washington did not inform the Pakistanis about the operation to get Osama Bin Laden, until American helicopters were out of Pakistani air space.

He said there were fears that Islamabad would scramble fighters to intercept the mission.

Washington is convinced that Bin Laden had some sort of support network within Pakistan, and will be asking tough questions over how the Al-Qaeda chief escaped detection for so long, while living in a fortified compound so near an elite military Academy.

Islamabad's ambassador to the US has promised a "full inquiry" into how Pakistan's intelligence services failed to find Bin Laden

But it is doubtful how far the country's largely independent and powerful intelligence service would co operate with any investigation ordered by the civilian government.

The intelligence service has frequently been accused of helping shelter Bin Laden.

But Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari used an editorial in The Washington Post to insist that his country had played a positive role in tracking down Bin Laden.

He told the paper: "Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama Bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilised world."

Meanwhile Britain's prime minister David Cameron on Wednesday cautioned against having a "massive row" with Islamabad. 

He noted that Pakistan was a nuclear power, and suggested that if the West turned away from the country it could trigger "massive instability".

Last July Cameron provoked a wobble in relations between London and Islamabad when he told an Indian audience that Pakistan should not be allowed to "look both ways" on terrorism. He later softened his rhetoric.

 

 

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