Former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Pakistan for nine years due to the “collective failure” of state military and intelligence authorities, a leaked Pakistani government report has revealed.
The report, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, also outlines how “routine” incompetence at every level of civil governance structure allowed the once world’s most wanted man to move to six different locations within the country.
The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, draws on testimony from more than 200 witnesses, including members of Bin Laden’s family, Pakistan’s then spy chief, senior ministers in the government and officials at every level of the military, bureaucracy and security services.
It was released by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on Monday, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government.
It comes on the heels of a report by AP news agency revealing that top US special operations commander, Adm William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.
Following the US operation to kill Bin Laden in May 2011, which was avowedly conducted without the Pakistani government or military’s knowledge, the Commission was set up to examine both “how the US was able to execute a hostile military mission which lasted around three hours deep inside Pakistan”, and how Pakistan’s “intelligence establishment apparently had no idea that an international fugitive of the renown or notoriety of [Osama bin Laden] was residing in [Abbottabad]”.