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