Pak hits back; says it cooperated in war on terror

A Pakistan government statement said its army and intelligence agencies have played a vital role in breaking the back of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the country as well as in the world.

Updated: May 03, 2011, 23:25 PM IST

Washington/Islamabad: The US on Monday came out
with a sharp statement refusing to believe that slain
terrorist Osama bin Laden had no support system in Pakistan,
which hit back saying the success of the Abbottabad operation
was because of its cooperation.

Pakistan government went a step further to call the
commando operation an "unauthorised, unilateral action"
without its knowledge but remained silent on the point whether
its establishment and intelligence agencies knew the presence
of al-Qaeda chief in Abbottabad and whether he was enjoying
any support system.

With a top US official suggesting Washington may probe if
there was any official links to the support system bin Laden
had for living in Abbottabad, a Pakistan government statement
late in the night said its army and intelligence agencies have
played a vital role in breaking the back of al-Qaeda and other
terrorist groups in the country as well as in the world.

"I think it`s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a
support system in the country that allowed him to remain there
for an extended period of time," US Deputy National Security
Adviser for Counter-terrorism and Homeland Security John
Brennan told reporters at a crowded White House news
conference in Washington.

"I am not going to speculate about what type of
support he might have had on an official basis inside of
Pakistan," he said.

In its statement, the Pakistan government said it
recognised that bin Laden`s death is an important milestone in
fight against terrorism and that its state institutions had
been making serious efforts to bring him to justice.

Apparently answering questions on whether the
establishment had harboured bin Laden in Abbottabad, living
close to a military academy, the statement said Abbottabad and
the surrounding areas have been under sharp focus of
intelligence agencies since 2003 resulting in highly
technical operation by ISI which led to the arrest of "high
value al-Qaeda target in 2004."

"As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been
sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence
agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some
foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till
mid-April 2011.

"It is important to highlight that taking advantage of
much superior technological assets, CIA exploited the
intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin
Laden, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and
Secretary of State, in their statements," it said.

The statement said it was important to mention
that CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have
benefited a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI.
"ISI`s own achievements against al-Qaeda and in war on terror
are more than any other intelligence agency in the World."

PTI