According to Al Arabiya, the Arabic-language television news channel, senior Pakistani security officials are claiming today that Osama bin Laden was taken alive by U.S. Special Forces and executed as his family members watched. The source of this seemingly outrageous allegation is identified as bin Laden’s 12-year-old daughter, who was an eyewitness.
The article further notes that four bullet-riddled bodies were recovered from the compound, only two of which were confiscated by the U.S. assault team—one belonging to bin Laden, the other to his son. It asserts, finally, that by the time Pakistani security forces arrived on the scene of the raid (which the Pakistani government angrily insists was “unauthorized”), the U.S. commandoes had claimed their prizes and cleared out.
The surviving members of the bin Laden family are said to have transported by security chopper to Rawalpindi, where they are now receiving treatment.
Other occupants of the house have been detained for questioning by Pakistani officials. According to Al Arabiya, one of these individuals maintains that the occupants of the compound did not fire so much as “a single bullet” on U.S. choppers or commandoes.
The account flies in the face of the official U.S. version of events, which includes detailed descriptions of a 40-minute fire fight. Rational minds would expect that forensic evidence collected from the compound will disprove the detainee’s preposterous assertion.
Yet, troubling discrepancies between the initial report released by Washington and subsequent versions are sure to become grist for all manner of speculation about what really happened.
In the earliest reports of the events on the ground, for example, bin Laden was said to be armed or reaching for a weapon and to seize a female in the compound as a human shield. In the revised account the terrorist was unarmed, and the woman, who may have been one of his wives, sacrificed herself.
And then there is the ticklish matter of the raid’s violation of Pakistani sovereignty, an issue that arose during the 2008 presidential debates, when a somewhat defiant candidate Barack Obama boasted:
If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [then-Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf won’t act, we will.
The only problem is that the Obama administration didn’t give the current president, Asif Ali Zardari, a chance to act. Not ultimately that it should make any difference if cooler heads are permitted to prevail. The Pakistani government is itself on the hot seat over its own failure to have recognized bin Laden’s hiding place “in plain view” of a military base. Before the U.S. starts answering questions about the way the raid went down, Pakistan needs to explain why it didn’t occur six years sooner, and on their watch.
- Human rights activists ask: Was killing bin Laden legal?
- White House walks back decision to release OBL photos for now
- New details of bin Laden’s hiding place emerge
- Raid that killed bin Laden also yielded treasure trove of computer data
- Details of bin Laden’s burial at sea: Prepare to be sickened
- White House debates releasing photos of bin Laden’s corpse
- The death of OBL: Whose victory?
- Pictures of bin Laden’s compound (VIDEO and SLIDESHOW)
- Bin Laden’s death stuns Arab street: Threat to ‘unleash hell’ on West
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