Operation Geronimo: US was prepared for showdown against Pak

Posted By: Biswajeet Panda
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Washington, May 10: In yet another startling revelation about the US raid that led to the killing of terror lynchpin Osama bin Laden, it is now known that Barack Obama insisted that the SEAL team be prepared for a showdown with the Pakistani forces.

Obama wanted the team that went for 'Operation Geronimo', to be big enough to face a possible confrontation with hostile local police officers, troops, senior administration and military officials.

In a report published by the New York Times, senior US officials have stated that during the 'Operation Geronimo', two teams of specialists were on standby: One to bury bin Laden if he was killed and the second one with lawyers, interrogators and translators in case he was captured alive.

A senior Obama administration official was quoted in the report as saying, “Their instructions were to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it."

The decision to stay prepared for a possible confrontation with hostile Pakistan forces also goes on to show how much the US trusts the south-east Asian nation. Further, the report has also stated that the administration had outrightly refused to have any Pakistani on the mission.

According to the original plan reported by the New York Times, two assault helicopters were going to stay on the Afghanistan side of the border waiting for a call if they were needed. But the aircraft would have been about 90 minutes away from the Bin Laden compound.

The report also states that 10 days before the operation, Obama ensured that the Commanders in the mission have enough forces as back up to fight their way out if Pakistanis arrived anyway between or after the raid that eventually killed Osama.

Another senior US official was quoted by the daily as saying, “Some people may have assumed we could talk our way out a jam, but given our difficult relationship with Pakistan right now, the president did not want to leave anything to chance. He wanted extra forces if they were necessary."

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