`US safe because of Pakistan cooperation’

A top White House official maintained that US` relationship with Pakistan is important but complicated.

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2011, 11:42 AM IST

Washington: The US is safer today because of the cooperation it has received from Pakistan, a top White House official said, maintaining that Washington`s relationship with Islamabad is important but complicated.

"It (US-Pakistan) is an important relationship and it is complicated as I have said numerous times from the podium, but America and Americans are safer because of the cooperation we have been able to achieve with Pakistan," White House press secretary Jay Carney told a group of foreign correspondent.

"It is important to remember that Pakistanis and Pakistan have been victims of al Qaeda, victims of all kinds of extremist terrorism, and we continue to pursue a relationship of cooperation and persistent as we continue to go after al Qaeda," Carney said in response to a question.

Speaking ahead of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the White House spokesman said the administration has been very frank about the fact that affiliates of al Qaeda are an issue.

Al Qaeda central is not the only threat, certainly some of the very active branches of al Qaeda are outside the al Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so it is a multi-headed enemy, Carney said, adding the lone wolf issue is always of concern and that is something the US Government is dealing with.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said while the US has significantly weakened al Qaeda`s core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, today they can still conduct regional and international attacks and inspire others to do so.

"The threat has become more geographically diverse, with much of al Qaeda`s activity devolving to its affiliates around the world. I have long described al Qaeda as a syndicate of terror, not a monolith, and this is becoming truer every day," she said.

"For example, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is reaching far beyond its base in Yemen and seeking to carry out attacks like its attempts to bring down cargo and passenger planes bound for the United States," Hillary said.

"Other extremist groups in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan not only continue to protect al Qaeda`s remaining leadership; they are plotting attacks like the failed Times Square bombing. And from Somalia, al-Shabaab is looking to carry out more strikes like last July`s suicide bombings that killed 76 people in Uganda during the World Cup," she said.

PTI