Musharraf: US, Pakistan must end bin Laden tension

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2011 12:51 PM
Musharraf: US, Pakistan must end bin Laden tension

Pakistan's former president called the failure by his country's intelligence agencies to uncover Osama bin Laden a "big slip up," but urged Pakistan and America to rebuild trust as the only way to maintain the battle against al-Qaida.

U.S. officials have said Pakistan has questions to answer over bin Laden's location in a house close to an army academy in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Pervez Musharraf, who was president at the time bin Laden is said to have first occupied the house, said Pakistan should hold officials accountable for failing to track bin Laden to the residential compound.

He has previously insisted that he did not know bin Laden's location during his time in office, but is likely to come under increasing scrutiny in the investigation into the intelligence failures.

"It was a big slip up ... regrettable," Musharraf said. "We need to find who slipped and take action against those who did not deliver."

Musharraf, an army general who took power in 1999 in a military coup, forged anti-terrorism alliances with Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He stepped down in 2008.

He called for the "trust deficit" between the U.S. and Pakistan to be erased in order to continue the battle against al-Qaida, which vowed revenge in a statement Friday.

"We need to defeat al-Qaida, re-establish trust with intelligence agencies in the U.S.," Musharraf told supporters in Dubai, where he has a residence.

Musharraf expressed satisfaction at bin Laden's death, but criticized the U.S. for violating Pakistan's sovereignty in the secret commando mission on Monday.

"The people of Pakistan and peace-loving people around the world ought to be happy at his killing," he said.

Musharraf is considering an election bid to reclaim the presidency in 2013.