ISLAMABAD: The Abbottabad (Osama bin Laden) Commission has concluded that the global terror kingpin’s nine-year-long stay in Pakistan and the May 2011 secret US raid, in which he was killed, were because of “gross incompetence” of the state institutions, but was particularly critical of ISI for being too casual in first tracking him and then investigating the May 2 denouement.
The 336-page classified report, which was revealed by Al Jazeera on its website on Monday, a day after Dawn carried the initial story, was a scathing criticism of the performance of the intelligence agencies, with the commission members specifically observing that the most well-resourced ISI acted unprofessionally, lacked commitment to fight extremism and terror and obstructed the performance of other spy outfits.
Accessing the report on Al Jazeera’s website became difficult soon after it was released due to unexplained reasons.
The five-member commission led by Justice Javed Iqbal believed that “culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government can more or less be conclusively established”.
Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a raid on his Abbottabad hideout on the night of May 1-2, 2011, by a team of US Navy SEALs from the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group with CIA support. The operation was ordered by President Obama.
The US special troops, who had flown into Pakistan on board four helicopters undetected by PAF radars, remained in Pakistani territory for about three hours including up to 38 minutes that they spent on the operation inside Bin Laden home.
The incident had sparked a public outcry in the country with the people asking how the most sought after fugitive lived in the country evading the snooping eyes of otherwise menacing local spies and how did US carry out hours-long hostile operation without any resistance from the military.
Confronted with a barrage of domestic and international criticism, the government first held an in-camera session of the parliament, which called for a detailed probe. The commission constituted in the first week of June started functioning on July 5 because of political wrangling that delayed its notification for weeks.
The commission which investigated the various aspects of OBL’s stay and killing in the US raid felt that the entire system had become dysfunctional and described the situation as “Government Implosion Syndrome”.
The result, the members observed, was “military humiliation, national outrage and instrumental outrage”. It was noted that the ISI had prematurely stopped tracking OBL in view of fading US interest in him. Retrospectively it looked the Americans could have stopped sharing information with ISI because of a trust gulf, but themselves never gave up search for him.