WASHINGTON: The US has asked Pakistan to show “concrete actions” to prove its commitment in the war against terrorism, even as it has sought an explanation from Islamabad on its ignorance about slain Osama bin Laden’s hideout.
The statement in this regard came from the State Department amidst increasing questions being raised by lawmakers and think tanks on Pakistan’s commitment to fight against terrorism.
“We’re going to look for concrete actions and concrete signs from the Pakistanis that they’re also committed to this,” State Department spokesman Mr Mark Toner told reporters here.
At the same time Mr Toner said it is also important that US-Pak counterterrorism cooperation that’s been going on since 9/11 has borne fruit and has led to some successes.
“It has put increased pressure on al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating within Pakistan. Terrorism is an existential threat for Pakistan,” he said, adding thousands of Pakistanis have been killed both by al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
“So we believe it’s important that this kind of cooperation continue,” he added.
Mr Toner said the US has asked a number of questions to Pakistan with regard to the hideout of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, in an affluent suburb of Islamabad.
“Certainly, we’ve raised these issues with them. The Pakistanis have said they have the same concerns, and they’re looking into it. It’s hard for me to say. These kinds of investigations can take some time,” he said.
The US is looking for the Pakistanis to address what the Administration believes are legitimate concerns raised by it and the Congress.
“They recognise that we’ll look to them to provide answers to those questions,” he said.
Defending the US decision not to inform Pakistan about it, Mr Toner said the operation to kill Osama bin Laden was carried out under a level of operational security that was incredibly stringent, even within the Administration.
“And so it was done – there was actionable intelligence, the mission was carried out, it was successful,” he said.
“We’ve said that we believe that this was a man who has not only, had killed thousands around the world and Americans, but also posed an imminent threat of future attacks on American citizens, and having actionable intelligence against him, we carried out an operation, and we believe that’s within our right to do so,” Mr Toner said.
“What we’ve tried to make clear is that we believe counter terrorism cooperation with Pakistan is in our clear interest as a nation, and it’s in Pakistan’s interest, and we’re committed to working with Pakistan moving forward,” he said.
“We carried out an operation that has brought him to justice,” he said when referred to two UN human rights experts who are asking the US to present supporting facts that it did or did not adhere to international standards with regards to human rights.
“I’m not going to get into a legal discussion from the podium, but we’ve talked about these operations in the past and the legal justification for them. This was an individual who posed a threat, an imminent threat to American lives – and indeed, to the lives of innocent civilians in Europe and Asia and elsewhere around the globe, and Africa certainly,”