Musharraf: No deal made to let US get bin Laden
ISLAMABAD -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf denied Tuesday that his administration struck an agreement with the United States years ago to let American special forces kill or capture Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan.
The denial follows a report in a British newspaper that the U.S. and Pakistan reached a secret deal nearly a decade ago allowing the U.S. to conduct operations against bin Laden and two other top al-Qaida leaders on Pakistani soil.
"Pervez Musharraf has seen a media report, and let me make it clear that no such agreement had been signed during his tenure," said Musharraf's spokesman Fawad Chaudhry. "Also, there was no verbal understanding."
U.S. Navy Seals conducted a unilateral operation May 2 inside Pakistan that killed al-Qaida leader bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist. The pre-dawn raid was viewed by many Pakistanis as a national humiliation delivered by a deeply unpopular America.
The Guardian newspaper, quoting U.S. officials and retired Pakistani officials, reported on Tuesday that Musharraf and former President George W. Bush made the agreement after bin Laden escaped U.S. forces in the mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001. If such a raid were conducted, the agreement was that Pakistani officials would publicly denounce the U.S. unilateral action.
"The Guardian report is baseless," Chaudhry said.
"If there is any such agreement, the Pakistan government should place it in the parliament, and if there was any agreement, the American government should make it public," Chaudhry told The Associated Press from Dubai, where the country's former military ruler is staying.
During his tenure, Musharraf repeatedly objected to allowing U.S. special forces operate inside Pakistan, he said.
"Pervez Musharraf always rejected the U.S. request about launching raids in Pakistan," Chaudhry said.