Pakistan’s current President Asif Ali Zardari (Wikipedia bio) assures us today, in the Washington Post, that Pakistan has been even more the victim of Islamic extremist terrorism than the United States, and is on our side in the war against al Qaeda.
He is the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December of 2007 by indigenous Pakistani Muslim extremists belonging to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an al Qaeda-affiliate group, so his personal antipathy to Islamicist terrorism is believable. Mr. Zardari is, on the other hand, a notoriously corrupt politician, with a record of two convictions and imprisonments for kickbacks, who has demonstrably misrepresented his own educational credentials, and who is referred to derisively in his own country as “Mr. Ten Per Cent” in reference to his corruption scandals. So his word is not exactly to be relied upon.
We know now that when Osama bin Laden’s trail grew cold in 2005, he had begun hiding in a high-walled safe house in Abbottabad recently constructed at a site previously used for the same purpose by Pakistan’s intelligence service and located only 800 meters from the Pakistan Military Academy in a summer resort community popular with Pakistani senior military officers and government officials, located only about 45 road miles (roughly 72 kilometers) from the capital.
Osama bin Laden’s targeting of the United States for terrorist attacks constituted an act of remarkable perfidy and ingratitude because bin Laden had previously been himself a recipient of US aid and support in the Islamic holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
It seems that the US has been dealing for decades now, over five presidential administrations, with an extremist Islamist axis combining Afghans, Pakistanis, and wahabi jihadists from the Gulf States who have all accepted friendship and financial and material aid from the United States in liberating Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion, and then turned on America and West as a target of terrorism.
Pakistan has, in the aftermath of 9/11, accepted billions and billions of dollars of US aid and pretended to be a US ally, while continually using claims of sovereignty to restrict Allied operations against Taliban and al Qaeda targets and constantly exploiting claims of civilians casualties to hamper and demonize Allied air attacks.
It seems impossible to believe that Osama bin Laden has been sitting for almost six years in his walled compound in Abbottabad without the knowledge and assistance of significant parts of the government of Pakistan.
The recent Raymond Davis affair in which Pakistani authorities unlawfully detained an American holding diplomatic credentials after he shot a couple of thugs on motorcycles who were menacing him, and which ended with the payment of “blood money” for his release, actually delayed the US operation to eliminate bin Laden.
The denoument of the long search for bin Laden exposes in sharp contrast the hypocrisy, perfidy, and double-dealings of Pakistan and poses the direct question: What is the US Government going to do about this, now that it knows?