Reading the news today, it's difficult to determine exactly what role Pakistan played in the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday at a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both stated that counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan "helped lead us to bin Laden," while Homeland Security official John Brennan insisted at a press conference today that the U.S. conducted the raid on its own and only informed Pakistan of the operation when its helicopters left Pakistani air space. The U.S. position, while perhaps a bit vague, has been consistent.
Pakistan, however, seems to be sending mixed signals about the role it played in the raid.
- The raid only involved U.S. forces: In a statement this morning, Pakistan's foreign ministry stated that the "operation was conducted by the U.S. Forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. Forces, wherever found in the world."
- Pakistani troops supported U.S forces: Al Jazeera Arabic is quoting an anonymous Pakistani intelligence official as saying Pakistani troops supported U.S. forces during the mission, and Reuters is quoting Pakistan's ambassador to Britain as saying the operation involved the U.S. and Pakistan.
- Pakistani troops killed bin Laden: Pakistani television, moreover, is reporting per intelligence officials that bin Laden was killed by Pakistani forces, according to China's Xinhua news agency.
- Pakistan only contributed intelligence: An unnamed Pakistani intelligence official is telling CNN that the Pakistanis gave the U.S. raw phone-tap data that contributed to bin Laden's killing but didn't analyze or interpret the information themselves, and that intelligence "slipped from" Pakistan's "radar" for months.