Asia

Pakistani papers: Bin Laden raid 'mystery' deepens after Hersh article

Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011 Image copyright AP
Image caption Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011

US author Seymour Hersh's article has raised serious questions over the US raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in 2011, Pakistani papers say.

Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 US Navy Seal raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

But Hersh's piece in the latest edition of the London Review of Books contradicts the US administration's claims. The author argues that the militant leader was killed in a joint operation between US and Pakistani military agencies.

He has written that Bin Laden had been under the control of Pakistan agencies since 2006, and the raid was the result of a secret deal between Pakistani and US officials.

Pakistan's main newspapers argue that Hersh's article shows that there are still "unanswered questions" about the raid.

The Dawn newspaper says "it is a story that will not go away - and rightly so".

The paper adds that Hersh "attempts to take apart the standard story proffered inside Pakistan - that the army leadership had no knowledge of the al-Qaeda chief's presence in Abbottabad nor did it in any way facilitate the American raid to kill him".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Obama and his national security team monitored the raid on Bin Laden's compound
Image caption US Navy Seals killed Bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan in May 2011

The paper, however, urges people to carefully scrutinise the piece because "Mr Hersh appears largely sympathetic to the Pakistan Army".

'More questions'

Others newspapers, including The Daily Times, says that Hersh's piece "answers less and raises more questions about Osama bin Laden's killing in 2011".

"Hersh's story is certainly an incredible read, which pokes enough holes in the official accounts of the saga of Osama's death to make them seem questionable; it also explicates the motivations of the parties involved in the cover-up," the paper says in an editorial.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Seymour Hersh says he "understands the consequences" of his article

The paper takes a sympathetic view on Hersh's piece, saying that it lends credence to the theory that Pakistani officials were aware of the raid.

"It is hard to believe that the Pakistani Army and ISI did not realise that Osama was hiding so close to the premier military academy, or that US helicopters entering the country and circling the compound were not detected," it says.

Pakistan Today agrees, saying that there is a dire need under the circumstances for Pakistani generals to respond to these claims.

The papers have also argued that the Pakistani government must make its report on the raid public.

"It is morally and legally indefensible of the state to hide from the public the only systematic inquiry into the events surrounding perhaps the most humiliating incident in decades here," the Dawn adds.

The paper also rejects the theory the release of the report will harm the country's security.

"National security will not be undermined by the publication of a report; national security was undermined by the presence of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil," it adds.

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