Abbottabad Report: Scathing Review Shows Pakistan Can't Be Trusted


The leaked release of the Abbottabad Commission report has shed light on the incompetence and deficiencies of the Pakistani government on counter-terrorism and national defense operations — and most notably, Osama bin Laden's apparent nine-year tenure in sovereign Pakistan. For the U.S., this is a wake-up call for the ever-troubling alliance with Pakistan. Here's an idea: The U.S. needs to re-evaluate its cooperation with Pakistan in terms of efficiency and competence, as opposed to common goals that have justified an alliance in the ongoing "war on terror." Right now, it's not working.

News agency Al-Jazeera released the reported findings of the Abbottabad Commission concerning the termination of Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil by U.S. military operatives. The Commission was able to piece together a narrative of Bin Laden that far from favors the supposed attempts of Pakistan to fight terrorism.

Findings indicate that bin Laden entered Pakistan at some point in 2002 after escaping from U.S. forces in December 2001 during the Battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. He was able to travel to several locations before settling in the Abbottabad compound in 2005, where he remained until his death in May 2011.

The Abbottabad location created immediate scrutiny for the Pakistani government, the harshest being allegations that the security services shielded bin Laden. The compound was located in close approximation to the Pakistani Military Academy. The raid itself sparked controversy in Pakistan, as citizens were alarmed by the breach of their sovereignty by foreign operatives.

How was bin Laden in Pakistan that long without being discovered? How was Pakistan not able to properly respond to foreign operatives entering Pakistan and engaging in military operations? Don't the U.S. and Pakistan share common goals of fighting terrorism?

The report answers these questions with the phrase and theory, "Government Implosion Syndrome," which isn't what the U.S. wants to hear. The report's scathing analysis concludes that "culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government can more or less be conclusively established". That's a tough review for an ally.

This is where the U.S. re-evaluation needs to happen. Allegations of Pakistani double-dealing been raised in the past, but Pakistan has done some part in fighting terrorism. But even with a generous benefit of the doubt, the report reveals crippling problems with Pakistani counter-terrorism effectiveness.

Either Pakistan is double-dealing or competence is truly lacking. Maybe it's both. The point is, the U.S. needs to re-evaluate cooperation (intelligence, aid, roles, etc.) with Pakistan in response to any of these possibilities. This isn't a call for immediate separation, but rather a prescription for change. Bin Laden's residence in Pakistan, and the need for secret U.S. operations on Pakistani soil, are problems for an alliance. Something has to change.

Pakistan still has a role to play in the future of U.S. foreign policy. The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan sets up a test for the region, especially with Taliban factions in both countries. Before more inefficiency prolongs grievances, the U.S. needs to reevaluate exactly what type of cooperation it wants with Pakistan ... hopefully an effective relationship.