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'Even Clinton admin believed ISI would pass intel to Al-Qaeda'

Monday, 7 January 2013
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January 07:

Much before the US carried out the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden without informing Pakistan, the Bill Clinton administration had little faith in Islamabad when it came to sharing important intelligence information, a former top American general said today. Gen (rtd) Stanley McChrystal in his book, "My Share of the Task: A Memoir" which hit the stands today, says that as a result of the lack of trust with the Pakistani leadership, the latter were given just 10 minutes notice when the Clinton Administration launched a barrage of missiles in August, 1998, entering the Pakistani airspace.

"So they gave the Pakistanis notice, but just barely: Over a late-night chicken tikka dinner in Islamabad on the night of August 20 (1998), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Ralston told the head of the Pakistani army, General Jehangir Karamat, that in ten minutes, missiles would be entering Pakistani airspace," McChrystal wrote. "Prior to the strike, US officials feared the Pakistanis would think the US missiles crossing over their country were from India. But they worried more that members of Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment would tip off the Taliban or bin Laden about the impending strike," McChrystal, a former US general in Afghanistan, said.

"Not only were the Pakistanis kept in the dark, but they also lost men. Some of the buildings blown apart by the missiles were in fact used by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), killing, by some accounts, five of its intelligence officers and twenty of its trainees. The event left the Pakistani leadership irate and the Americans ever more skeptical, asking why Pakistani officers were near bin Laden's camps in the first place," he wrote in his latest book. McChrystal said the relationship continued to degrade. McChrystal had to resign as the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan after the publication of an article in the Rolling Stone in which he was quoted as being highly critical of the Obama Administration. The US conducted a daring raid in May, 2011, on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan and killed the dreaded al-Qaeda chief. PTI

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