Pakistan: Bin Laden Raid Must Not Serve As Precedent

May 4, 2011
Originally published on May 4, 2011 9:21 am
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Julie, welcome.

JULIE MCCARTHY: Thank you, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: These were stern words from Pakistan. They sound as though they might have been harsher. I wonder what else the government is saying about the American operation that killed bin Laden on their soil.

MCCARTHY: But, you know, whether or not the Pakistanis have been playing a double game, you know, acting in complicity with certain militant forces, is the perennial question that's on the minds of Washington, increasingly, with aid on the line. So the fallout from this bin Laden raid that they didn't know about and weren't deliberately told about has potentially huge implications for Pakistan.

WERTHEIMER: So, what about the raid? Is the - having those helicopters arrive, the Navy SEALs go into the compound was a surprise or a shock and must have been embarrassing.

MCCARTHY: But the army told me that last night, that there's deep anger over how it was conducted - telling no one, using stealth to evade radar, forcing the Pakistanis to scramble jets when they learned about what had happened. You know, but despite all that outrage, Linda, you know, the revelation that bin Laden was living in a compound under the nose of the Pakistan military for years is, as you point out, a stinging embarrassment.

WERTHEIMER: What about that compound? You spent two days in the area of the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad. Is anything new on who lived there? Do we know where the family members who were left behind have gone?

MCCARTHY: Just coming out now are reports that the man who built that house has also been detained.

WERTHEIMER: What about the people of Pakistan? What is the public reaction?

MCCARTHY: Well, interestingly, Linda, even talk show hosts here who are nationalistic are now asking: How can Osama bin Laden have lived in a city where the army sprawls across the landscape and not have the army know about it? Many Pakistanis find it hard to believe that their vaunted ISI and military did not know.

WERTHEIMER: We've been talking to NPR's Julie McCarthy in Islamabad. Julie, thank you very much.

MCCARTHY: Thank you, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.