Washington: US House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers has said that the word "ally" may be too strong a word to describe Pakistan, the country in which al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found, and where Rogers believes Ayman al-Zawahiri has been hiding.
US President Barack Obama`s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has declared one-time Egyptian doctor and al-Qaeda`s number-two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as the world`s "number one terrorist" following the death of bin Laden, who was on May 02 in a top-secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad.
In an interview with CBS News, Congressman Rogers said the US has known for years that Taliban leaders are living inside Pakistan.
"It was one of those, I think, arranged trade offs for other bits of cooperation," he said, adding that the US knew that the Pakistani military “weren`t being aggressive there”, but did arrest hundreds of terrorists in other places in the country.
When asked whether he thought Pakistan was a good ally of the US, the chairman of the committee that oversees US intelligence agencies said, "I would say Pakistan is an ally. There are challenges, there`s serious challenges there and `ally` may be too strong a word."
Rogers also said he knows that the Pakistanis have disclosed US operations and held back information, but believes that the killing of bin Laden may lead to more cooperation between both nations in the ongoing war on terror.
"I hope they see this as an opportunity to be more cooperative. To be more open, to help us with other targets that we have in Pakistan that we`re very interested in having apprehended and brought to justice," he said.
On being suggested that al Qaeda `s number-two would be on that list, Rogers replied: "Zawahiri is a great example. I believe he`s in Pakistan."