Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 05/06/2011

President Obama on Osama bin Laden in 2008: ‘We should take him out’


In this March 6, 2011, photo, supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islami rally against U.S. CIA employee Raymond Allen Davis, who is implicated in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis in Lahore, Pakistan. (By K.M. Chaudary/Associated Press)
The strained relationship between Pakistan and the United States has become even more tense since news broke that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan.

A second American attack on Pakistani soil took place Thursday, killing 15 people, The Post’s Karin Brulliard reports. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials helped aid bin Laden during his stay in a compound near an elite military academy.

How President Obama will handle the tension remains to be seen, but he has a history of distrusting the Pakistani government.

During the 2008 presidential debate, then-candidate Obama came under criticism for saying he would go into Pakistan and take Osama bin Laden out whether or not the government of Pakistan agreed with him or not.

“If the United States has al-Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take him out,” he said during a presidential debate (see full video below).

It was part of Obama’s original foreign policy stance during the election: taking a hard line against his predecessor’s relationship to the Pakistani government and former president Pervez Musharraf.

Now, three years later, Obama followed through on his word. When the United States found Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, it did not inform the Pakistani government about its plan to attack him, fearing leaks.

For Pakistan, a loss of U.S. support could mean the loss of billions of dollars. Already, lobbyists for Pakistan have kicked into high gear to persuade lawmakers that President Asif Ali Zardari’s government did not know about bin Laden. At risk is nearly $3 billion in annual aid, Yahoo News reports.

The mistrust between the United States and Pakistan is nothing new. Anup Kaphle put together a timeline of how the relationship has been, on both sides, uncertain for the past 50 years.

By  |  12:48 PM ET, 05/06/2011

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