Was bin Laden in an ISI safehouse?
Lots of bits and pieces coming out about the raid.
This was a targeted kill mission, not just a raid. They didn’t go in to capture bin Laden, they went in to kill him. And they did. It is reported he got the classic "double tap" to the left side of the head. Now he’s fish food. Appropriate. But … it also kills this "justice" nonsense in the legal sense. Legally, that’s not how we dispense justice. So, as some have said, and I agree, this removes the actions he was killed for from the "criminal" realm.
The mission was carried out by the legendary SEAL Team 6. They were the right guys for this type of mission and they apparently carried it out magnificently, even with one of their aircraft going down with mechanical failure. Or said another way, this wasn’t remotely a "Desert One". It was a well planned, well executed job for which everyone in the chain of command, from the President on down, deserve a pat on the back.
The compound bin Laden was in was built in 2005. At the time it was pretty isolated – well, other than being 1,000 yards from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point. Since then some other structures were built near it.
That said, there are a lot of interesting rumors flying around not the least of which are claims in the Indian media that the fortress/house/mansion was an ISI “safe house”. ISI is the Pakistani intelligence services which has always been suspect in its loyalty and frequently cited as having given aid to al Qaeda and the Taliban. MEMRI has the story. From “India Today”:
"A senior Pakistan military official has told India Today that it was impossible for the army to have not known that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad. This has further fuelled speculation that Osama was killed in an ISI safehouse.
Another Indian website reported the following:
"Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] is bound to be cornered in the days to come following the killing of dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"A source in the intelligence agency says that Osama’s death will no doubt put the ISI in a very uncomfortable position among the Al-Qaeda, Haqqani Network, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, who now feel betrayed by the agency.
"Nothing in the Af-Pak region goes unnoticed by the ISI, and if bin Laden managed to play hide-and-seek with the world all this while, it was only thanks to ISI’s patronage. Although the U.S. has claimed that Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, terror groups would not believe so.
"They are aware that nothing is possible unless there has been a certain degree of support from the establishment. Moreover, Osama was living in a place close to the army headquarters in Abbottabad, about 70 kilometers northeast of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. This is not a fact that would have gone unnoticed by the ISI.
The Times of India also claims the ISI was involved in sheltering bin Laden:
"The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before U.S. forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the Al-Qaeda fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.
There’s some ground truth in there – the ISI has a fearful reputation in the region and little if anything is unknown to them. They’ve been constantly accused of playing both sides of the fence in this conflict. Few if any in the region, among terror organizations, are going to believe this all happened without the ISI’s knowledge and compliance. And that puts them in a very tough spot as the report indicates.
So bin Laden death may end up being one of the best things to happen in some time if it casts enough suspicion to break up this unholy alliance between the Pakistani state intelligence agency and the terrorists. Trust me, it will take a loooooong time (if it ever happens) for those two entities to ever have close ties again.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.
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