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Clinton Gives Clean Chit to Pakistan Over Osama bin Laden

May 27, 2011|11:24 am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that there is no evidence that top leaders in the Pakistani government knew where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was hiding.

Clinton's surprise visit to Islamabad came amid high tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan following the discovery of bin Laden close to the city's capital. It is the first high-level visit to Pakistan since the U.S. killing of bin Laden.

She said U.S. and Pakistani relations have "reached a turning point" but said there was more work to be done in the fight against terrorist group al-Qaida.

"Osama Bin Laden is dead but al-Qaida and its syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both," said Clinton at a news conference after meeting the Pakistani officials with chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

Clinton said Pakistani officials has said that "someone, somewhere" was providing support for bin Laden in Pakistan, but there was no reason to believe that senior Pakistani officials at the highest level knew that bin Laden was in Abbottabad.

"There is absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest levels of the Pakistani government knew that Osama bin Laden was living just miles from where we are today," she said.

"And we know that al-Qaida has been a source of great pain and suffering to the leadership that has in every way attempted to eradicate the threat it has posed."

Clinton urged Pakistan to work together with the U.S. to bring peace to Afghanistan, saying it would not work out if Pakistan was not part of the process.

"Both our nations have an interest in a safe, stable Afghanistan that is not a source of insecurity for its neighbors and others. And we need to work together to achieve that goal.”

"As part of America's strategy, we are supporting an Afghan-led process that seeks to split the Taliban from al-Qaida and reconcile those insurgents who will renounce violence and accept the Constitution of Afghanistan. And we know that for reconciliation to succeed, Pakistan must be a part of that process," the U.S. Secretary of State added.

She noted that many of the Taliban leaders are living in Pakistan.

"Pakistan has the responsibility to help us help Afghanistan by preventing insurgents from waging war from Pakistani territory.”

Bin Laden, who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in America, was shot dead on May 2 during a U.S. Navy SEALs raid.

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