Clinton Urges Pakistan to Act Decisively Against Militancy
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says relations between the United States and Pakistan are at a turning point, and that Pakistan must take decisive steps to fight terrorism.
Clinton made the comments in Islamabad Friday, during a brief visit aimed at mending relations that were further strained following the killing of Osama bin laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistan. She is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the country since the May 2 raid in Abbottabad.
Pakistani leaders were angered by the U.S. operation, while some U.S. officials questioned how the al-Qaida leader could be hiding out in Pakistan without being detected by Pakistani authorities.
On Friday, Clinton said the U.S. has "absolutely" no reason to believe that anyone in the highest level of Pakistan's government knew were bin Laden was.
But the secretary also asked Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to do more to fight militants. Clinton noted that Pakistan has a responsibility to bring peace to Afghanistan by helping prevent insurgents from "waging war from Pakistani territory."
Clinton was accompanied by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who called for greater military cooperation between the two countries.
The U.S. visit comes a day after a suicide bombing killed 32 people in northwest Pakistan, in yet another attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.
Ahead of Clinton's arrival in Islamabad, U.S. officials announced that Pakistan had agreed to allow the CIA to examine the compound where bin Laden lived before his death.
U.S. commandos quickly searched the compound in Abbottabad immediately following the May 2 raid that led to bin Laden's death, but U.S. intelligence officials have wanted to do a more thorough search.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday his country is entering a "defining phase" in the fight against terrorism.
Pakistan received $2.7 billion in security-related assistance from the United States in the fiscal year that ended last September. It is the third-largest recipient of U.S. security aid and reimbursements, after Afghanistan and Israel.
Some U.S. lawmakers have threatened to cut off funding following the recent tensions between the two governments.
Article by VOA News