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Tue, Aug 16, 2011

Pakistan May Have Allowed Chinese Access To Stealth Helo

No Official Confirmation, But 'Reason To Believe' Photos And Skin Sample Taken

The circumstances surrounding the final hideout of Osama bin Laden, where he had lived for years near Pakistan's main military academy, led to serious questions about whether the nation was really much of a US ally in the fight against al Qaeda. New revelations are likely to encourage those inclined to answer, "no."

On Sunday, the Financial Times reported that Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, gave Chinese military investigators access to a previously unknown stealth helicopter which crashed and was abandoned on the roof of bin Laden's Abbottabad compound during the raid in which he was killed. That access is said to have included photos, and a sample of the skin of the aircraft, and is said to have happened despite specific requests from the US not to allow it.

Widely publicized photos circulated immediately after the May 2 raid showed that most of the helicopter had been successfully destroyed by departing US Navy Seal commandos, but a substantial portion of the tail remained intact. Even those photos led to widespread commentary on what appeared to be new stealth technology around the tail rotor.

Pakistan expressed its outrage over the lack of prior notification of the US raid by cutting back on the number of US trainers allowed in the country and limiting the activities of the CIA. The paper reports a US official said there was "reason to believe" access to the downed helicopter had been arranged for the Chinese, but no official confirmation was available.

FMI: www.defense.gov

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