Reaction Varies In Pakistan To Bin Laden's Death

Osama Bin Laden was living in Pakistan when U.S. forces found him and he was killed in a firefight. U.S. officials have said they acted without the prior knowledge of Pakistan. Retired Pakistani Gen. Talat Masood talks to Renee Montagne about what Pakistan may have know about bin Laden.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is special coverage from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

We're going to talk now to retired Pakistani general Talat Masood about the events of the day, and he joins us from Karachi, Pakistan. Thanks very much for joining us.

Lieutenant General TALAT MASOOD (Pakistani Army, Retired): Thank you.

MONTAGNE: U.S. officials have said that they acted without the prior knowledge of Pakistan. Is that possible, that they could have acted without Pakistan knowing?

Gen. MASOOD: Maybe at the last moment they did inform and take them in confidence. But most of the time I think they were only aware the CIA had full intelligence and when they were sure - and nearly when they were about to launch the operation, I think, they took Pakistan and informed the Pakistan military and intelligence so that they know that they are going to launch the operation.

MONTAGNE: Well, one other question that's come up today is that - the question is, is it possible that the Pakistani government did know that Osama bin Laden was living in this city that is very close to the capital, Islamabad, and has a significant military presence.

Gen. MASOOD: Well I think this is no doubt intriguing, but the fact is that I think there was so much pressure built up in Obanistan in south and the east of Obanistan. And at the same time the Pakistan military was taking action against its own militants, and at the same time the drone attacks were coming from the Americans.

So I think that pushed Osama bin Laden into this place where he is. And there is no doubt it's very close and it's very strange that he is living there. But this is exactly the reason perhaps why he went into this building, because he perhaps thought that no one will ever suspect that he could be here.

MONTAGNE: So, what we would call here hiding in plain sight. But let me ask you what reactions you are hearing about the news of bin Laden's death.

Gen. MASOOD: Well, I'm mean, the reaction here is it all depends on what sort of, where do you stand. I mean, I personally was extremely delighted because you know the type of damage he has done to Pakistan, to Islam, to the Muslim world and has created havoc and killed innocent people, you know, and created such a great, sort of a rift between the West and the Muslim world.

So I think he is a criminal of the first order in that sense, and his departure should be extremely well received by all moderate and liberal people in Pakistan. There are of course some in Pakistan who have some sort of sympathy for the militants and would have perhaps a different view. But they are surely in the minority and I'm very glad that, you know, an end has come to him.

MONTAGNE: We've been talking to retired Pakistani general Talat Masood. He's is Karachi, Pakistan. Thank you very much for joining us.

Gen. MASOOD: Thank you.

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