Al Jazeera & BBC World News – 2011-05-03 21:29:54
US: Bin Laden Was Unarmed When Shot Dead
(May 3, 2011) — Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was confronted and shot dead by US forces at his Pakistani hideout, a White House spokesman has said.
Jay Carney said that the US was considering whether to release photos of bin Laden after he was killed on Sunday but that the photos were “gruesome” and could be inflammatory. The director of the CIA told NBC News on Tuesday that a photo showing bin Laden dead will ultimately be released.
“The government obviously has been talking about how best to do this, but I don’t think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public,” Leon Panetta, the head of the US spy agency, said according to a transcript of the television interview.
Carney said one of bin Laden’s wives had tried to rush the US forces and was shot in the leg. He said Bin Laden had resisted capture and was shot and killed. He did not explain how bin Laden had resisted.
The White House spokesman said high temperatures had caused one of the helicopters carrying the US forces to make a hard landing at the compound in Abbottabad, a town about two hours north of Islamabad, the capital.
The US commandos swept through the massive compound, handcuffing those they encountered with plastic zip ties and pressed on in pursuit of their target, code-named ‘Geronimo’. Barack Obama, the US president, and a small team of his officials watched the operation in real time from the White House, but the mission was not run from there, Carney said.
Taliban Demand Proof
The Taliban in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that they questioned whether bin Laden was actually dead. “As the Americans did not provide any acceptable evidence to back up their claim, and as the other aides close to Osama bin Laden have not confirmed or denied the death … the Islamic Emirate considers any assertion premature,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said.
The United Nations’ top human rights official called on the US on Tuesday to give the UN details about bin Laden’s killing and said that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.
“This was a complex operation and it would be helpful if we knew the precise facts surrounding his killing,” Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement to the Reuters news agency.
It was always clear that taking bin Laden alive was likely to be difficult, Pillay said, noting that US authorities had stated that they intended to arrest him if possible. “If he was captured and brought before a court, I have no doubt he would have been charged with the most serious crimes, including the mass murder of civilians that took place on 9/11, which were planned and systematic and in my view amounted to crime against humanity,” she said.
Eric Holder, the US attorney general, defended the US operation against bin Laden as lawful on Tuesday.
Bin Laden ‘was shot unarmed’ â€“ US
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: Bin Laden not armed, but did resist
BBC World News
(May 3, 2011) — Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was unarmed when he was killed by US troops on Sunday after resisting capture, the White House has said. The CIA said it did not tell Pakistan about the raid in advance over fears they would jeopardise the mission. Pakistan denies any prior knowledge of the raid — its intelligence agency says it is embarrassed by its failures.
US officials say they have not yet decided when to release the “gruesome” photos of Bin Laden’s body. But CIA director Leon Panetta told NBC News there was “no question” the image would be released at some point. Bin Laden, aged 54, was the founder and leader of al-Qaeda. He is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, as well as a number of other deadly bombings.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Bin Laden’s wife “rushed” the first US assaulter who entered the room where they were, and was shot in the leg but not killed. On Monday, White House officials said the woman was killed in the firefight after Bin Laden used her as a human shield.They later said one woman had died in the raid but had been “caught in the crossfire”. Two couriers were also killed.
Clearly there were people helping Bin Laden in this location… were they state employees, were they simply from Taliban-related groups, were they from the intelligence agencies?
For all Americans may ask the questions, I doubt they will get any answers. There will be ambiguity about this and the Pakistanis will deny they had any knowledge whatsoever. The establishment here is made up of army leadership, intelligence agency leadership and some senior civil servants, and they have always run Pakistan, whether democratic governments or military governments, and those people do have connections with jihadis.
The difficulty the West has is in appreciating there are more than 20 different types of jihadi organizations, and al-Qaeda is just one of them. The state has different policies towards different types of group and that subtlety is often lost on Western policy-makers.
“We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance. There were many other people who were armed in the compound,” Mr Carney said.
Bin Laden himself then resisted the troops and was shot dead, but was not armed, he added.
The CIA is already examining material seized in the raid, including computer hard drives, DVDs and other documents. No decision had yet been taken on whether to release a photograph of Bin Laden’s body, Mr Carney said, conceding that the image was “pretty gruesome” and could inflame some sensitivities. But Mr Panetta later said the government was in talks about the best way to do so. “I don’t think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public,” he said.
An image which was widely distributed on the Internet purporting to show Bin Laden’s corpse has been determed to be a fake.
In a Time magazine article, billed as Mr Panetta’s first interview since Bin Laden was killed, he said the CIA had “ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on.” It reports him as saying that “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the target.”
Pakistan received $1.3bn (Â£786m) in US military and humanitarian aid last year, and provides logistical support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. However, relations between Islamabad and Washington have been strained by US suspicions that the ISI is covertly backing militants in Afghanistan, and by anger over US drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry has defended the ISI and issued a lengthy statement in which it expressed “deep concerns and reservations” about the unilateral US action.
Insisting that unilateral action should not become the norm, the ministry stressed that Pakistani intelligence had been sharing information with the US in recent years. “As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009.”
Earlier, an ISI official told the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad that the agency raided the compound in Abbottabad, just 100km (62 miles) from the capital, when it was under construction. It was believed an al-Qaeda operative, Abu Faraj al-Libi, was there.
But since then, “the compound was not on our radar, it is an embarrassment for the ISI”, the official said. “We’re good, but we’re not God.” The compound is just a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy — the country’s equivalent of Sandhurst or West Point.
The US has not commented on anyone it captured or had planned to capture, other than saying it had taken Bin Laden’s body. However, the Pakistani foreign ministry statement said that the rest of Bin Laden’s family are now “in safe hands and being looked after in accordance with the law”.
Earlier, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, President Asif Ali Zardari admitted Bin Laden “was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be”. But he denied the killing suggested Pakistan was failing in its efforts to tackle terrorism.
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