Pakistan’s inability to locate bin Laden “intelligence failure”: Shaukat Aziz

Islamabad, May 13(ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the country's inability to track down Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, who was living near the Pakistan Military Academy for years, was due to "an intelligence failure".

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on May 2 in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

"I would say this is an intelligence failure," The Nation quoted Aziz, as telling MediaCorp in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Williamsburg Conference in Singapore.

"But at the same time I would hasten to add that the ISI, which is our main intelligence agency, is professional. It is committed to pursuing the policies of the government and ensuring the security of the country," he added.

Aziz, who led Pakistan from 2004 to 2007, also said his administration could not have done anything more to find the Al Qaeda leader, who had lived in the military town of Abbottabad since 2006.

The former premier also said that Islamabad is likely to review and improve its anti-terror efforts.

"The government has to learn from this episode and correct (itself), in terms of how people come in and where such people are hiding and why it happened. The procedures, I am sure, will be reviewed and corrected ... anti-terror efforts get a lot of attention from all governments, including the Pakistan government, and I think there is room for constant improvement and changes in strategy," he said.

On Friday, a paramilitary training centre was attacked by Taliban suicide bombers, who blamed the Pakistani military for failing to stop the US raid on Osama's compound.

Over 80 people were killed and more than 100 others injured in two powerful blasts at the Frontier Corps Fort near Shabqadar in Charsadda, which the Pakistani Taliban said was to avenge bin Laden's killing.

Aziz said that the possibility of more reprisal attacks in Pakistan for the killing of Osama could not be ruled out, adding that the country has to be prepared for such attacks and take extra precautions to ensure security.

Copyright Asian News International/