US Covert Aims Behind Osama Episode
After the 9/11 tragedy, Pakistan joined the US war against terrorism as frontline state with because the country was not only facing acute financial crisis, but also hostile factor of India. Islamabad was also granted the status of non-NATO ally by Washington because of its successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al Qaeda militants.
Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of supporting the Afghan Taliban. US high high officials and their media not only blamed Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, but also presumed that a plot to attack the US homeland would be prepared in FATA where safe-havens of Al Qaeda exist. They also emphasised Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the militants coupled with drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring the internal backlash in the country.
Since 9/11, US had been playing double game with Pakistan, sometimes praising Pak Army for successful military operations, sometimes ISI for capturing renowned Al Qaeda commanders, and sometimes cajoling Islamabad with economic and military aid.
Notably, US-led India and Israel have been implementing a secret agenda against Pakistan which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. In this regard, strained relations already existed between Pakistan and America, while these were deepened when on May 2, 2011, without informing Islamabad, US commandos killed top Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in a covert raid in Pakistan’s city, Abbottabad.
After the death of Bin Laden in Pakistan, all the sacrifices of Pakistan’s armed forces which broke the backbone of the Taliban militants through successful military operations and those of ISI which arrested renowned Taliban commanders, namely Khalid Sheikh, Abu Faraj, Abu Zubaida, Khalfan, Abu Hamza Rabia, Mullah Abdul Ghani Bardar etc. were totally ignored. Osama’s killing triggered celebrations across the US, India, Israel and some western countries followed by a deliberate propaganda against Islamabad. In this context, a blame game against Pak Army and ISI was revived especially by the US and Indian media. They alleged that Osama’s presence was in knowledge of Pakistan’s superior agency, and other Al-Qaeda leaders have also taken shelter in Pakistan. Some American high officials also accused Pakistan’s ISI of intelligence failure regarding Bin Laden.
In this respect, BBC quoted the former Director General of ISI, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, saying that Osama’s compound in Abbottbad was registered under a fake name. He had also pointed out that after the Tora Bora operation, Osama Bin Laden became an enemy of Pakistan. Besides, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army Spokesman Maj-General Athar Abbas also refuted foreign allegations in connection with Osama and ISI.
It is notable that while Bin Laden was living in the Abbotabad compound for five years, and as to why US intelligence agencies, CIA and FBI could not know about his presence—and as to why he was not captured in the last ten years. Similar aquestion also arisess about the September 11 suicide attacks. It was described as the greatest intelligence failure of the American spy agencies.
However, despite its vast resouces, technical intelligence e.g. satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and human intelligence—extraordinary long-range aerial military capacity, the ability to strike at will from the space at any point on the globe, US secret agencies, especially CIA failed in detecting Bin Laden and destroying Al Qaeda’s terrorist network for the past ten years.
Nevertheless, compound where Osama Bin Laden was living was a norm rather than exception. A number of people have been living in the neighbourhood of that compound at Abbottabad. While Pakistan’s various television channels have shown the interviews of the neighbourers, living there, who remarked that they were never suspicion about Osama’s presence. So ISI did not have a magic to know the whereabouts of Bin Laden there. It was also not possible for this spy agency to check all the houses of Pakistan or to interfere in peoples’ privacy so as to find out Bin Laden.
While the May 2, US military action at Abbottabad was still fresh in the memory of every Pakistani, on November 26, last year deliberate air strikes by the US-led air on Pakistan Army outposts in Mohmand Agency which killed 24 troops by violating the country’s sovereignty greatly added to the heightened sense of anti-Americanism strengthening the position of hardliners who oppose cooperation with Washington. Knowing the US covert designs, Islamabad decided to redefine its relationship with the US, which also includes cessation of drone attacks and conditions to NATO supply to Afghanistan.
It is mentionable that American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad are sending well-trained militants from Afghanistan, who not only commit various subversive acts in Pakistan on daily basis, but also target the checkposts of army. These agencies are also supporting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which are working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran. In the past few years, their militants kidnapped and murdered many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. Jundollah has been committing subversive acts in Pakistan, and in Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan. Tehran has repeatedly accused CIA for funding those terror-attacks.
It is noteworthy that Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives on February 17, 2012, calling upon Pakistan to “recognise the right of self-determination for Balochistan.” This resolution has exposed US secret designs against Pakistan.
In fact, Washington wanted to make Osama, the scapegoat of US multiple covert aims. Firstly, with the help of Indo-Israeli lobbies, US started distorting the image of Pakistan in the comity of nations. Secondly, America increased drone attacks on Pakistan. Thirdly, US and India propagated that Pak nukes were not safe. Fourthly, without bothering for any internal backlash inside Pakistan, America accelerated its pressure on Islamabad to take military action against Haqqani group in North Waziristan. While, Pakistan already made it clear that army is engaged in other tribal areas, so it cannot attack the militants of North Waziristan. Fifthly, America wanted to create a division between Pakistan’s military and civil institutions.
Besides, under the pretext of Osama’s death, the US intended to fulfill some other clandestine purposes. After the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014, America had already planned to maintain its military presence in that country in order to safeguard Indo-US interests, and to act upon hidden agenda to destabilise Pakistan, Iran and China. Notably, American cost of war against terrorism which had reached 8 trillion dollars was increasing rapidly—acute recession inside the country had given a greater blow to the US economy. In such a scenario, American public was particularly worried about the failed campaign in Afghanistan. So Osama’s episode could be used to distract the attention of its general masses from internal crisis, and for re-election of Obama as president.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations