The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Pakistan Report on Abbottabad Raid: Never Let The US Do That Again

Osama_bin_Laden_compound2

A couple news agencies released leaked copies today of the Abbottabad Commission Report, the Pakistani government’s investigation into the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The report is scathing. It slams the Pakistani government on two fronts: for allowing an international fugitive to hide, ostensibly without anyone knowing, in Pakistani territory for nine years, and for allowing the US to conduct the raid without any defense or retaliation.

The report, available here in full, attributes bin Laden’s ability to escape detection to the government’s ”gross incompetence,” and finds that the “collective failure” of the military and intelligence agencies allowed the US to carry out an ”act of war”: “Culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government can more or less be conclusively established….this [was] a case of nothing less than a collective and sustained dereliction of duty by the political, military and intelligence leadership of the country.”

Among its recommendations, which include police reforms and increased intelligence cooperation, the report also seems to focus heavily on preventing the US from conducting another deadly raid on Pakistani soil. “The alarming expansion and reconstruction of the US Embassy in Islamabad may pave the way for deeper US penetration in Pakistan,” the report reads. It urges a fundamental rethink in the relationship between the two countries:

The false pretence of a ‘strategic’ relationship is to perpetrate a deception upon the people of Pakistan. The simple truth is that there is little agreement between the US and Pakistan with regard to all of Pakistan’s neighbours, including China, Afghanistan, Iran and India. The same is true for the Middle East. And it is most true of the so-called war on terror including the kinetic and illegal strategies the US has adopted towards Pakistan itself, of which the May 2 ‘incident’ was an important instance.

The report also notes several incidents that helped deteriorate the relationship between the US and Pakistan prior to the Abbottabad raid, including the killing of two Pakistani citizens by Raymond Allen Davis, a CIA contractor, on January 27, 2011. The US initially tried to give Davis diplomatic cover by saying he was employed by the American consulate in Lahore, but the Pakistanis locked him up. Then the ISI and the CIA struck a deal to whisk him out of the country, which provoked outrage and protests and fueled anti-American anger among ordinary Pakistanis. As Mark Mazetti wrote in the New York Times, the episode “extinguished any lingering productive relations between the United States and Pakistan.” Davis remains a “boogeyman” in Pakistan, “an American killer lurking in the subconscious of a deeply insecure nation.”

It is not all that surprising that much of the blame for the bin Laden killing is placed on the United States in the Abbottabad Commission Report, and that many of the recommendations focus on reforming that relationship and scrutinizing the Americans who are allowed to enter the country. Pakistan’s government remains deeply suspicious of Washington, insecure and embarrassed by its military’s reliance on American money. For now, Pakistan and the US will continue to rely on each other. But there is deep distrust on both sides, and as international troops withdraw from Afghanistan, deep-seated anger and clashing priorities will soon be making their way into the limelight.

[Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

Published on July 8, 2013 5:24 pm
  • JDogg Snook

    “It is not all that surprising that much of the blame for the bin Laden killing is placed on the United States”

    They can go screw themselves.

  • Hex

    Here’s an idea: let’s dump the wretched hellpit known as Pakistan and support India instead. Thriving, much more prosperous, a genuine (if troubled) democracy, and most importantly, not run by crackpot Islamic loonies. Not one penny of military aid to Pakistan until every last Islamic terrorist is off their payroll and driven out.

    • Omar

      You’ve been instalanched, buddy.

  • Pete

    Tell the Paks to calm down or risk getting their U.S. welfare checks stopped. Then they starve — literally.

  • Corlyss

    Never attribute to gross incompetence what the whole world understands as corruption. UBL paid people in the ISI to conceal him. Every intel agency knows that. Who do they think we are? The ignorant, backward, tribe-besotted Pakis?

    “insecure and embarrassed by its military’s reliance on American money.”

    My heart breaks.

  • crocodilechuck

    Twenty billion US$ in ‘aid’ since 2001, & its come to this?

    “It’s time to call it a day
    They’ve burst your pretty balloon
    And taken the moon away
    It’s time to wind up the masquerade
    Just make your mind up the piper must be paid…”

  • Jim__L

    How considerate, they published it in English…

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    Well, hey! How would you imperialists like it, if someone invaded your home and gunned down your honored guest?

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    The ISI allowed him to hide in Pakistan for all that time, and the Pakistani General Staff allowed us to take him out because (a Dollar to a DoNut) the word came down that if there was any resistance to Team-6′s raid, Pakistan would never see another dime of U.S. aid – in any form – ever.

    But, Hex is right – it’s time to switch horses.
    If only we had a workable solution to the Nuke problem in South Asia?

  • Rick

    Whitey Bulger was on the FBI most wanted list for 12 years and was found living in Santa Monica, CA, USA, so why should the Pakis have been any more diligent with Bin Laden?