The report of the Abbottabad Commission, which was set up to investigate the May 2011 raid by U.S. special forces that eventually led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and his couriers, was “obtained” and published online by al-Jazeera today. News reports tell us that the 337-page report makes “scathing reading.”
It attributes “culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government” in Pakistan’s apparent inability to identify that bin Laden was living in a villa located less than a mile away from the Kakul military academy for at least five years and the inability to detect the special forces contingent that traveled from Jalalabad, Afghanistan to Abbottabad to execute the mission to kill or capture bin Laden.
Of course, most people in India are accustomed to hearing how persons of interest to them — Dawood Ibrahim, for example — are most certainly not living in Pakistan. For those of us on this side of the barbed-wire fence, the incompetence defense stretches credulity.
There are other interesting parts to the report. On page 337, it concludes:
But finally, no honest assessment of the situation can escape the conclusion that those individuals who wielded primary authority and influence in national decision making bear the primary responsibility for creating the national circumstances and environment in which the May 2, 2011 incident occurred. It is unnecessary to specifically name them because it is obvious who they are. It may be politically unrealistic to suggest “punishments” from them. But as honourable men, they ought to do honourable thing, including submitting a formal apology to the nation for their dereliction of duty. It will be for the people of Pakistan in the forthcoming elections to pass collective political judgement on them. [al-Jazeera]
The other items for consideration pertaining to the release of the report are the timing and source of the alleged leak. The leak occurs at a time when the U.S. is trying to negotiate an honorable exit from Afghanistan with the Pakistan-backed Taliban in Qatar. That the report was leaked by al-Jazeera, a news agency fully owned by the al-Thani family, which, as it happens, also rules Qatar may not be a coincidence.