New York Times: Rumsfeld cancelled 2005 strike against al-Qaeda
Jul 8, 2007, 13:10 GMT
Washington - Former US secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld in 2005 cancelled a US mission to capture key figures in the al-Qaeda terrorist network out of fears the effort would harm relations with Pakistan, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Citing unnamed intelligence and military officials, the Times said Rumsfeld reasoned that the mission to capture Osama bin Laden's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri and other high-level terrorists would also risk too many US lives.
The mission had in the end involved several hundred elite military and secret service personnel, making it in Rumsfeld's opinion unwieldy and too difficult to clear with Pakistani authorities.
According to the report, leading figures in the US military and intelligence felt the aborted mission was a missed opportunity to weaken the terrorist organization behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Rumsfeld, who resigned as secretary of state in late 2006, is considered by many in the US as one of those in the Bush administration most responsible over unsatisfactory results in the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur