The U.S. mission that killed Osama bin Laden could be considered an “act of war,” said former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, during an interview aired Thursday night.
“Certainly no country has a right to intrude into any other country,” Musharraf, who was pressured to resign in 2008, told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “If technically or legally you see it, it’s an act of war.”
Al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden was assassinated on May 2 by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, about 30 miles northeast of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. No Pakistani government officials were informed of the raid ahead of time.
Bin Laden’s hideout, a home estimated to be worth $1 million, was near Pakistan’s main military academy, raising questions how officials failed not to know that the world’s top terrorist was in their back yard.
Many people, including Pakistanis, have questioned if perhaps local officials were purposely hiding bin Laden’s whereabouts.
But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated Friday during her surprise visit to Islamabad that there is no evidence that top Pakistani leaders knew where bin Laden was hiding. Clinton, who is the highest level official to visit Pakistan since bin Laden’s death, was in Islamabad to check on U.S-Pakistani relations.
Tension arose between the two long-time allies after the U.S. unilaterally carried out the military operation in Pakistan.
Musharraf criticized President Obama as showing “arrogance” when the U.S. president said this week that he would do the same thing again to eliminate other al-Qaida terrorists.
“I think such arrogance should not be shown publicly to the world,” the former Pakistan president, who led a military government during his nearly 10 year rule, said. “I think it is arrogance that: ‘We don’t care. We don’t care for your national opinion. We don’t care for your people. We will come in and do the same thing.’ This is arrogance.”
But Musharraf admitted that it was a “terrible failure” on the part of Pakistani intelligence to not detect bin Laden’s hideout first.
Clinton on Friday is trying to defuse the distrust and animosity between the two countries after the fallout over bin Laden. The U.S.’s top diplomat urged Pakistan to continue to work with Washington to bring peace to neighboring Afghanistan.
“Both our nations have an interest in a safe, stable Afghanistan that is not a source of insecurity for its neighbors and others. And we need to work together to achieve that goal.”
She pointed out that many of the Taliban leaders are living in Pakistan.
"Pakistan has the responsibility to help us help Afghanistan by preventing insurgents from waging war from Pakistani territory,” she said.