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Leaked report lambasts Pakistan failures over Bin Laden

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A leaked report Monday accused Pakistan of complacency, collective failure and negligence that allowed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live undetected in the country for more than nine years.

A copy of the report from a Pakistani commission was obtained by Al-Jazeera and published on their website, six months after it was submitted in Islamabad but kept secret by the government.

While many details of bin Laden's life in Pakistan have already been made public, its stinging criticism of homegrown failures will deeply embarrass the intelligence and military authorities.

CIA spies tracked down bin Laden to the northwestern town of Abbottabad, where he was shot dead by US Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011 during a clandestine raid near Pakistan's military academy.

"OBL was able to stay within the limits of Abbottabad Cantonment due to a collective failure of the military authorities, the intelligence authorities, the police and the civilian administration," said a copy of the report leaked by Al-Jazeera.

"This failure included negligence and incompetence and at some undetermined level a grave complicity may or may not have involved," it added.

According to his wives, bin Laden fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, arriving in Pakistan in the spring or summer of 2002, and staying for more than nine years.

He moved in August 2005 to Abbottabad, where unusual security arrangements at his villa, a lack of Internet and other abnormalities failed to attract Pakistani attention.

"How the entire neighbourhood, local officials, police and security and intelligence officials all missed the size, the strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors etc over a period of nearly six years beggars belief," the report said.

"There was also extensive complacency, inefficiency and negligence in the local civil administration, the police and the civil and military intelligence agencies and security authorities of the cantonment area," it added.

Had leads or abnormalities been followed up professionally the report cautioned, it might have led to a different outcome than the US raid that violated Pakistan sovereignty, it said.

The Abbottabad Commission was set up in a bid to get to the bottom of one of the most embarrassing episodes in Pakistani history.

Parliament had demanded an independent investigation into how bin Laden had been able to hide and whether there was any government or military collusion.

The commission interviewed senior civilian and military officials and the three widows of bin Laden before they were deported to Saudi Arabia last year.

jm/lm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130708/leaked-report-lambasts-pakistan-failures-over-bin-laden