Saturday, January 19, 2008

C.I.A. Sees Qaeda Link in the Death of Bhutto

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the assassins of Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, were directed by Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani militant leader in hiding, and that some of them had ties to Al Qaeda.

The C.I.A.’s judgment is the first formal assessment by the American government about who was responsible for Ms. Bhutto’s Dec. 27 assassination, which took place during a political rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

“There are powerful reasons to believe that terror networks around Baitullah Mehsud were responsible,” said one American intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


Some friends and supporters of Ms. Bhutto questioned the C.I.A. conclusions, especially since the former leader was buried before a full forensic investigation had been conducted. The British government has since sent a team from Scotland Yard to participate in the investigation into the assassination.

“The C.I.A. appears too eager to bail out its liaison services in Pakistan, who are being blamed by most Pakistanis,” said Husain Haqqani, a former adviser to Ms. Bhutto and a professor at Boston University.

“Given the division inside Pakistan on this issue, it might be better to have an international investigation under the aegis of the U.N.,” Mr. Haqqani said.

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