Pakistan gave U.S. officials authorization to launch a "unilateral raid" to go after Osama bin Laden ten years ago, according to The Guardian. The agreement was struck in late 2001 between General Pervez Musharraf and President George W. Bush, says a former senior U.S. official speaking anonymously. "There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him," said the official. "The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn't stop us."
The newspaper also cites a Pakistani official who says the agreement was renewed by the army for six months starting in February 2008. The official says the U.S. carried out the raid knowing it had Pakistan's consent. "As far as our American friends are concerned, they have just implemented the agreement."
It's an interesting bit of news considering the protests that have come from Pakistan since the attack, not to mention from Musharraf himself who's calling the raid a "violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan" from his home in exile in London. Still, it's not clear from The Guardian's report if the authorization given to the U.S. to conduct a "unilateral raid" is part of the same vaguely reported agreement that authorized the drone strikes the U.S. has been carrying out. One would assume that Pakistani officials would demand a higher threshold for strikes involving troops on the ground and helicopters flying near Islamabad. Also unanswered is whether the agreement was still kosher given that it reportedly expired in 2008. We sent a quick question to The Guardian and will update when we hear more. As of this post, the AP and Reuters wire services don't seem to have picked up this story.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.