Aug15: The Pakistani military has moved quickly to refute allegations that Chinese military experts were allowed to examine and take samples from a top-secret U.S. helicopter destroyed in the early May raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
But coming amid talk that the United States is prepared to link future military assistance to Pakistan's performance in fighting extremists on its soil, the report raises the question of whether the "pay-for-performance" approach is a nonstarter.
The "Financial Times" first reported on August 14 that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) allowed Chinese specialists to take pictures of the helicopter left behind at the bin Laden compound by U.S. commandos. The British daily, quoting unnamed intelligence sources, reported that the Chinese took pictures of the stealth helicopter's tail rotor and took samples of its radar-deflecting outer skin.
"The report is totally baseless and we strongly reject it," Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said in response to the "Financial Times" report.
Asad Munir, a retired brigadier-general and former ISI station chief in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, discounts the possibility that the Chinese were given access to the U.S. helicopter.
He notes that the remains of the stealth helicopter were handed over to the United States within a few days of the May 1-2 operation to kill the Al-Qaeda leader.
"There are no Chinese defense experts who are experts in helicopter technology that are present in Pakistan," Munir says.
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