‘If US could, why can’t we?’: Bin Laden-style raid now ‘possible’ in Pakistan, says Indian minister

‘If US could, why can’t we?’: Bin Laden-style raid now ‘possible’ in Pakistan, says Indian minister
Recalling the 2011 US operation to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, an Indian minister said New Delhi is able to carry out a similar raid. The statement comes amid a simmering conflict that saw tit-for-tat action over Kashmir.

“I remember when US Navy Seals went to Abbottabad [Pakistan] to kill [Al-Qaeda leader] Osama bin Laden, then why can’t India?” Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister was quoted as saying by local media. He said such a raid “used to be only an imagination, a wish, a frustration and disappointment,”adding, “but it’s possible today.” 

Jaitley, who was defense minister until late 2017, was speaking just a day after a series of artillery shellings and air encounters over contested Kashmir. New Delhi said its Air Force engaged and shot down a Pakistani aircraft (presumably an F-16) but lost their own MiG-21 fighter as well. Pakistan, in turn captured an ejected MiG pilot, posting a photo of him in custody.

The fighting came after India conducted air raids against “terrorist” in Pakistan, some 50km (32 miles) from the UN-mandated Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, which serves as the de facto border in the disputed region. India hasn’t launched incursions that deep into Pakistani territory since the war of 1971.

New Delhi claimed it was a response to the Pakistan-based militants attacking and killing dozens of its police officers in mid-February. India also accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to terrorists on its soil, while Islamabad vehemently denies the claim.

The CIA-led 2011 raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was launched from Afghanistan, involving SEAL Team Six and other participating units. The US military said bin Laden’s body was brought to Afghanistan for identification and then buried at sea, within 24 hours of his death in accordance with Islamic tradition.

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Initial reports claimed the Pakistani military was unaware of the raid as Washington allegedly refused to share information about it until it was over.

However, bin Laden was not located through tracking of his couriers but through a “walk-in,” according to award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, citing a “retired senior intelligence official,” along with a handful of anonymous others.

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