WASHINGTON - The US has humiliated Pakistan by carrying out the May 2 operation with impunity to kill Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
At the same time, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the image of the Pakistani military has been tarnished as a result of this successful US operation.
“If I were in Pakistani shoes, I would say I've already paid a price (for terrorist safe havens). I've been humiliated. I've been shown that the Americans can come in here and do this with impunity. I think we have to recognize that they see a cost in that and a price that has been paid,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
Mullen said one should not underestimate the humiliating experience of Pakistan after the bin Laden operation of the United States. “I don't think we should underestimate the humbling experience that this is. In fact, the internal soul-searching that's going on inside the Pak military right now and the impact of that, before you even start to talk about external effects,” he said.
“It's internally, and I just know for a fact that is going on, and they're not through that, because they've been through a lot tied to this, and their image has been tarnished. And they care, as we all do, and they care a lot about that. They're a very proud military,” Mullen said.
Responding to reporters’ questions, both Gates and Mullen reiterated that they do not have any evidence which suggests that top Pak leadership knew about the presence of bin Laden in Pakistan. Gates said his assumption is that somebody in Pakistan knew about it, which is being investigated by the United States right now.
“I mean, the supposition is somebody. We don't know whether it was, you know, a retired people, whether it was low-level. Pure supposition on our part. It's hard to go to them with an accusation when we have no proof that anybody knew. I think it's a supposition shared by a number in this government that somebody had to know, but we have no idea who and we have no proof or no evidence,” Gates said.
The Defense Secretary said he sharing the frustration with lawmakers on Pakistan post-Osama bin Laden, the US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday asserted that the United States can’t walk away from Pakistan.
“I can understand Congress' frustration. …. That said, I think we have to proceed with some caution. We do have significant interests in Pakistan. I think that my own view would be we need to continue the assistance that we have provided that benefits the Pakistani people,” he said.
Mullen said the Pak Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, is committed to act against the Haqqani network. “He (Kayanai) has committed to that,” Mullen told reporters at a pentagon news conference when asked about the reluctance on the part of the Pak Army to take action against the Haqqani network.
“I think one of the issues that are just a challenge for us is our clock moves a lot faster than his clock. That has been the case so far, and I think it will be the case in the future. I'm not trying to give him an excuse, but matching those clocks has been pretty difficult,” Mullen said. (Pajhwok)