Musharraf critical of U.S. bin Laden raid

May 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM
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ATLANTA, May 3 (UPI) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, while happy Osama bin Laden is dead, is critical of the United States' unilateral military raid on Pakistani soil.

Musharraf said in a video interview with CNN Monday he recognizes it was U.S. policy to pursue the al-Qaida leader who orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States into other nations if necessary, "but that doesn't go well with Pakistani sensitivities."

"I would never be able to support that," he said.

While acknowledging the mission to kill bin Laden was a success "purely from a military point of view" and "peace-loving people of the world, and Pakistanis also, ought to be happy about it ... we cannot indicate in any form that we are willing to compromise on our sovereignty like that."

Musharraf also repeatedly denied ever saying categorically that bin Laden wasn't hiding out in Pakistan.

"I always said he could be in Pakistan or in Afghanistan," Musharraf told CNN. "I always put a doubt in that."

He said over the years there had been no solid intelligence bin Laden was in Pakistan, and anyone who said so was relying on "guesswork."

Bin Laden was finally tracked down at a compound less than 75 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

He said the U.S. intelligence community should "share the blame partially" for how long it took to pinpoint bin Laden's whereabouts, "but we shouldn't cast any aspersions on ... Pakistani intelligence's intentions of cooperating on terrorism and extremism."

"That must not be done, and unfortunately that is being done, and so therefore is a lack of trust and a lack of confidence in each other," he told CNN, which didn't indicate where Musharraf was when he was interviewed.

Musharraf, 67, became president of Pakistan in a bloodless military coup in October 1999 and was a strong ally of the United States until he resigned in August 2008 under threat of impeachment.

He left Pakistan for self-imposed exile in London, though he has expressed a desire to return to Pakistan to re-engage in politics there. However, in February an arrest warrant was issued by a Pakistani court alleging he was involved in the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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