Some Pak officials know where Osama is: Hillary
Last Updated: Monday, May 10, 2010, 23:47
Washington: After some tough talk on Pakistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says some people in its government are aware of the whereabouts of elusive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

The Obama Administration meanwhile for the first time accused Taliban of being behind the botched Times Square bombing plot.

"Some Pakistani officials were more informed about al Qaeda and Taliban than they let on", Clinton told CBS in an interview.

"I'm not saying that they're at the highest levels but I believe that somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is and we expect more cooperation to help us bring to justice, capture or kill, those who attacked us on 9/11," she said.

Clinton had over the week-end warned Pakistan that it will face "very severe consequences" if any terror plot like the failed Times Square bombing was traced to that country.

"We've made it very clear that if, heaven-forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences," she had said.

Asked if US was not getting sufficient cooperation from Islamabad in anti-terror drive, the US' top diplomat acknowledged there was a "sea change" in cooperation by Pakistani authorities, but added "we want more".

When asked why Obama Administration was not piling up pressure on Islamabad to give up Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri, Clinton replied "I have to stand up for the efforts the Pakistani government is taking. They have done a very significant move toward going after the terrorists within their own country".

Her comments came even as other senior US officials including Attorney General Eric Holder said they have obtained new evidence that Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempt to trigger a car bomb blast in the heart of New York.

"We know they facilitated the bomb plot and they probably also financed it", the Attorney General told ABC News.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalised American citizen of Pakistani origin was arrested last Monday for rigging a SUV vehicle to explode in the Times Square.

As the new revelations raised fresh questions about US relationship with Pakistan, Washington has responded by stepping up pressure on Pakistan to crack down on radical Islamic militants safe havens in tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

New York Times said US military commander in Afghanistan Gen Stanley A McChrystal met Pakistani military chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad yesterday and pressed for a new military offensive in North Waziristan, the main base of the Pakistan Taliban.

When asked if Pakistan-based terrorist groups are related to the Times Square incident, Clinton said "there are connections. Exactly what they are, how deep they are, how long they've lasted, whether this was an operation encouraged or directed -- those are questions that are still in the process of being sorted out."

"This is a threat that we share, we have a common enemy. There is no time to waste in going after that common enemy as hard and fast as we can, and we cannot tolerate having people encouraged, directed, trained and sent from Pakistan to attack us," Clinton said.


First Published: Monday, May 10, 2010, 23:47

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