Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Pakistan wasn’t aware of Osama’s presence, says ex-US envoy

KARACHI: Former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on Wednesday revealed that Pakistan did not know about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and the detection of the Al Qaeda leader’s location there created mistrust between Islamabad and Washington. He was speaking at a dinner hosted by the chairman of Pathfinder Group in honour of former chief of the army staff, retired Gen Raheel Sharif, in Davos. “Those who claimed that Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of bin Laden were wrong,” said Mr Munter, who is currently president of the East-West Institute. He said that the killing of the Al Qaeda leader inside Pakistan further deepened mistrust between the two countries. “Terrible mistakes were made due to deep mistrust.” The former envoy said Pak-US relations were greatly affected by ‘two myths’. “The Pakistan myth is that Americans used Pakistan when it needed and abandoned it afterwards while the US myth was that Pakistan would not be a reliable partner despite getting billions of dollars in aid, both military and civilian,” he added. The problem is that there was little truth in both of these myths and that deepened the mistrust, he said. He said the US took seven months to apologise for the Salala attack – in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died – at the Afghan-Pakistan border. Mr Munter admired the former army chief, saying the “general showed a style of openness to achieve goals”.

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