US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday told Pakistan that the country needed to understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not end its problems.
“Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make the problem disappear,” Clinton told a news conference following talks with Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders.
Pakistan was left humiliated and angry after an American raid killed Osama bin Laden two hours’ from the capital on May 2.
Clinton said there was no evidence that Pakistani government leaders knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding, following talks in Islamabad a month after he was killed. She said that Pakistani officials had said that “somebody, somewhere” was providing support for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan before he was killed by US forces this month.
“This was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point. Osama bin Laden is dead but al Qaeda and his syndicate of terror remain a serious threat to us both,” Clinton said.
“There is a momentum toward political reconciliation in Afghanistan but the insurgency continues to operate from safe havens here in Pakistan,” she added, saying she believed that Pakistan and the United States had the same goals. “America cannot and should not solve Pakistan’s problems. That’s up to Pakistan,” she said.
She added that the US needs Pakistan’s help in negotiating an end to the fighting in Afghanistan and that “for reconciliation to succeed Pakistan must be part of this process.”
While the top US diplomat said no nation had paid a higher price to terrorism than Pakistan, she added: “We both recognise there is still much more work required and it’s urgent.” She said there was “absolutely no evidence that anyone at the highest level of the Pakistani government” knew where bin Laden was.
The unilateral operation has fuelled widespread anti-American sentiment in the country, which has long been high over a covert CIA drone war against militant commanders in the country’s northwestern tribal belt.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who accompanied Clinton in her meetings pleaded for greater co-operation between the two wary allies in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Clinton denied that the meetings, held under blanket security, were tense and said she had heard Pakistan commit to “some very specific action”, saying the country deserved more credit for its efforts in the war on militants.
“I return to Washington ever more committed,” to the relationship, she said.
“They are now having to look at some very tough questions that they either tried to avoid or which they gave inadequate answers to before,” a senior US official told reporters travelling with Clinton.