In an effort to dispel criticism of Pakistan's handling of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, a senior Pakistani official told reporters on Thursday that two Pakistani F-16 fighter jets were airborne as soon as the Pakistan military knew about the operation. But, by that time, he said, the American helicopters were on their way back to Afghanistan. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, the first senior Pakistani official to speak publicly in detail about the Bin Laden episode said that the Americans had used technology to evade Pakistani radar. Alternatively combative and defensive, Mr. Bashir said Washington should abandon the idea that Pakistan was complicit in helping Bin Laden hide in Abbottabad, but he did not elaborate, saying only that the nation's spy agency had a "brilliant" record in counterterrorism.
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