Washington: The US raid to kill the world’s most wanted fugitive Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city was ”not a joint operation”, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has admitted. He adds that the Al Qaeda leader was ”not anywhere we had anticipated he would be”.
In an opinion column titled “Pakistan did its part”, published in the Washington Post, Zardari said: “Pakistan, perhaps the world’s greatest victim of terrorism, joins the other targets of Al-Qaeda…in our satisfaction that the source of the greatest evil of the new millennium has been silenced, and his victims given justice.”
Osama was taken out by crack commandos who flew in to the city in choppers; he was killed with a single bullet to his head and his body then taken away to be buried at sea.
“He (Osama) was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone,” said Zardari.
The president added: “Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world.”
Taking a bit of credit for the killing, Zardari wrote: “And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an Al Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.”
The president said that his country has “paid an enormous price for its stand against terrorism. More of our soldiers have died than all of NATO’s casualties combined. Two thousand police officers, as many as 30,000 innocent civilians and a generation of social progress for our people have been lost”.
“And for me, justice against bin Laden was not just political; it was also personal, as the terrorists murdered our greatest leader, the mother of my children. Twice he tried to assassinate my wife (Benazir Bhutto).
“In 1989 he poured $50 million into a no-confidence vote to topple her first government. She said that she was bin Laden’s worst nightmare – a democratically elected, progressive, moderate, pluralistic female leader. She was right, and she paid for it with her life.”
He went on to say that just hours after Osama’s death, “the Taliban reacted by blaming the government of Pakistan and calling for retribution against its leaders, and specifically against me as the nation’s president”.
“We will not be intimidated,” he said. “Pakistan has never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media.”
Zardari wrapped up the article by saying: “We have fought bravely and with passion and commitment. Ultimately we will prevail. For, in the words of my martyred wife Benazir Bhutto, ‘truth, justice and the forces of history are on our side’.”