Operation Geronimo: US and Pak had deal in place

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Bush and Musharraf
London, May 10: The US raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, may not actually be President Obama's handiwork. A report by a British daily suggests that former US president George W Bush had in place a deal with Pakistan government that would allow the US forces to conduct a raid similar to 'Operation Geronimo' to nab Laden if he was ever found in Pakistan.

According to a report published by the Guardian, the deal was struck between Pervez Musharraf and George Bush in 2001 when both of them were the presidents of their respective countries.

Under the deal, Pakistan was supposed to allow US forces to conduct a unilateral raid inside its territory in search of Osama, al Zawahiri and all the top al-Qaeda leaders and that both sides agreed that Pakistan will strongly protest the incursion.

The report quotes a senior US official with the knowledge of counter-terrorism operations as saying, "There was an agreement between Bush and Musharraf that if we knew where Osama was, we were going to come and get him...The Pakistanis would put up a hue and cry, but they wouldn't stop us."

The report has also quoted a senior Pakistani official as confirming that the deal was struck under Musharraf and renewed by the army during the "transition to democracy" – a six-month period from February 2008 when Musharraf was still president but a civilian government had been elected.

The daily quotes the official as saying, "As far as our American friends are concerned, they have just implemented the agreement."

Informing that the recent outpour of protests by Pakistani government and leaders including General Pervez Musharraf as the "public face of the deal", the senior US official was quoted as saying, "We knew they would deny this stuff."

The report underlines an exposure by the Wikileaks US embassy cables, in which Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, was quoted as saying to a US official in August 2008, "I don't care if they do it, as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it."

So, is all the talks by Pakistani leadership about the violation of their sovereignty by the US an eye-wash. Going by the reports, it seems that certainly is the case.

OneIndia News

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