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Pakistani FM defends ISI after bin Laden killing

Reuters/Erik de Castro

Pakistani Foreign Minister Salman Bashir has defended the country’s much-criticised secret services, the ISI, in the aftermath of the US raid which ended in the death of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

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“To infer that the ISI provided cover for Osama bin Laden is absolutely wrong,” Bashir told a press conference Thursday as questions are posed over the fact that bin Laden was living in the same town as a military academy.

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The agency is frequently accused of working with the Taliban in Afghanistan and playing a double game in its association with the US’s war on terror.

Bashir insisted that the ISI is loyal to the government and committed to fighting armed Islamist groups.

And, he claimed, the Abottabad compound first came under scrutiny after Pakistan arrested Libyan, Abu al-Libi, who had apparently been with bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Bashir also implicitly criticised Washington for acting unilaterally on Pakistani territory.

“It was a covert operation. Pakistan was not consulted,” he said, adding, “There are legal questions in relation to UN Security Council resolutions.”

Bashir quoted a Security Council statement stipulating that “member states must ensure that measures to combat terrorism apply with all their obligations in international law”.

“Everybody concerned ought to be mindful of their international obligations,” he declared.

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