Peshawar, Sept 10 : Pakistan has always played a double game as far as extending cooperation with the US in catching Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden (after 9/11 attacks) is considered, said a detailed article published in the Washington Post.
It quoted Afrasiab Khattak, a Peshawar-based Pashtun politician, as saying that Pakistani forces would occasionally help the CIA capture second-string al-Qaeda figures, but to meet the objective of keeping the aid money flowing from Washington.
"The Bush administration deceived itself. From the very beginning, the Pakistani generals were playing a double game. It was an open secret," the US daily quoted Khattak as saying further.
Khattak added that he had been warning US officials since 2000 of bin Laden's close relations with Pakistan's spymasters, and that he also tried to alert Washington after 2002 that al-Qaeda was rebuilding in the tribal areas.
"We kept telling the Americans, 'They are here.' They said: 'No, no. This cannot be true. General Musharraf is very committed, he's with us," recalled Khattak, president of the Awami National Party (ANP) in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).
The paper said that for seven years, the hunt for bin Laden hinged on the proposition that the US government had a reliable partner in former Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf.
But, even some Pakistanis said the US government was naive to think that Musharraf or his generals would do much to find bin Laden. They noted that Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency had cultivated ties with the al-Qaeda leader for two decades and that many officers remained sympathetic to his cause.