Islamabad, May 27: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said, there was absolutely no evidence that anybody at the highest level in Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was living “just only miles from where we are right now.”
She however said that “somebody, somewhere was definitely providing some kind of support to Laden” in Abbottabad. The Pakistanis are probing and we are also probing, she added.
Clinton was addressing a press conference with Admiral Mike Mullen after her meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. ISI chief Shuja Ahmed Pasha was also present.
Clinton described her talks as “frank and constructive”. “We've reached a turning point. Osama bin Laden is dead but al Qaeda which is leading the syndicate of terror remains. Insurgents continue to operate from safe havens in Pakistan”
But she hurried to add that “no nation has sacrificed more in the fight against terror that Pakistan has. The extremists killed women and children and blew up markets”.
Clinton said, the Afghan government was seeking to reconcile with those insurgents who want to leave al Qaeda, and Pakistan must be part of that process because many Taliban leaders continue to be in Pakistan.
She said, any peace deal in Afghanistan will not succeed unless Pakistan is part of the process.
“America cannot and should not solve Pakistan's problems, but Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear”, said Clinton.
She denied that today's discussions were tense. She laughed it off saying: “I don't think it was tense. Actually we were waiting for the photographers to leave.”
Clinton noted that the US government (read CIA) today got access to the compound where Laden stayed. “We are working towards trying out to untangle the puzzle of bin Laden's presence”.
Clinton also pointed out that President Zardari said in today's meeting that al Qaeda was behind his wife's murder.
Clinton is on a brief mission to Pakistan in an attempt to repair badly frayed relations after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The United States needs Pakistan's help in negotiating an end to the fighting in Afghanistan because the country is believed to have influence over several insurgent commanders.
Clinton acknowledged this, saying “for reconciliation to succeed Pakistan must be part of this process.”