Pakistan tipped off militants, let them flee: US

Pakistan has apparently tipped off militants at two more bomb-building factories.

Washington: US officials have claimed that Pakistan tipped off militants at four bomb-building sites in its tribal areas, allowing the terrorists to flee, after Americans shared intelligence with the Pakistani government, a media report said Sunday.

A Los Angeles Times report said the US believes that Islamabad`s insistence on seeking local tribal elders` permission before raiding the areas may have most directly contributed to the militants` flight.

Pakistan says its troops cannot enter the tribal areas without giving the locals notice, the report said.

US officials claim that intel on four bomb-making sites were shared with Pakistani officials, only to have the terrorist suspects flee before the Pakistani military arrived much later.

The latest incident comes as both the countries struggle to salvage their mutual co-operation in the war against Islamist militants after a late night US commando raid in Abbotabad killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden May 2.

The Pakistanis believe the Americans violated their sovereignty by keeping them in the dark about the raid.

US believes Osama`s location, in a military garrison town, proves some elements of the Pakistani army or intelligence service helped hide the al Qaeda mastermind.

The Times report said US officials explained Saturday how they offered the location of third and fourth bomb-making sites, in order to give Pakistan another chance to prove it could be trusted to go after the militants.

In the tradition of "trust but verify", the Americans carefully monitored the area with satellite and unmanned drones after sharing the information, the report said quoting US officials.

In each case, they watched the militants depart within 24 hours, taking any weapons or bomb-making materials with them, just as militants had done the first two times. Only then did they see the Pakistani military visit each site, when the terror suspects and their wares were long gone, the officials said.

The report said intel on four such sites were shared with Pakistan`s security forces.

Pakistan`s army Friday disputed reports that its security forces had tipped off insurgents at bomb-making factories after getting intelligence about the sites from the United States. The army called the assertions of collusion with militants "totally false and malicious".


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