US Never Saw Pakistan as an Ally, Writes Gates
KABUL: Former US defense secretary Robert Gates says his country never considered consulting Pakistan before raiding the Osama bin Laden compound in the northwestern garrison town of Abbottabad. “Although I would defend them in front of Congress to keep the relationship from getting worse, I knew they were really no ally at all,” the former defense secretary said, adding the US thought the ISI was protecting the Al Qaeda chief.
In his new book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War”, Gates paints a gloomy picture of the US-Pakistan relationship, with no side trusting the other. While the Americans were fighting terrorists, the Pakistanis never broke their ties to the Taliban, he alleges. When the US planned to raid Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in May 2011, he was worried the ISI was aware of the Al Qaeda chief’s whereabouts.
“I worried there might be rings of security around the compound that we knew nothing about or, at minimum, that ISI might have more eyes on the compound than we could know.” Vice Admiral William McRaven, in charge of the operation, told ex-secretary if they confronted the Pakistani military, US commandos would just hunker down and wait for a “diplomatic extraction”.
Gates writes ahead of the raid, no one inside the administration talked about seeking Pakistani help in killing Osama. “No one thought we should ask the Pakistanis for help or permission. “ In every instance, when the US had provided a heads-up to the Pakistan military or intelligence services, the target was forewarned and fled, he says, calling the Abbottabad raid a humiliation for the Pakistan army. (PAN)