US will go after Al Qaeda leadership anywhere: Clinton

May 20th, 2011 - 11:18 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 20 (IANS) Despite Pakistan’s warnings that it would not tolerate another US raid, the US has made clear that it would go after the Al Qaeda leadership anywhere in the world.

“We’ve made it clear to people around the world that if we locate someone who has been part of the Al Qaeda leadership, then you get him or we will get him,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview with CBS News Thursday.

Asked if after the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, she would recommend more unilateral US raids if it knew the whereabouts of other key Al Qaeda figures in Pakistan, she declined “to comment on any hypotheticals”.

“But I think it should be sufficient to say that the United States has made it clear from the very moment we were attacked that we would go after those who had attacked us.

“Bin Laden was our primary target. The president made a gutsy decision. We were very pleased that the operation succeeded,” Clinton said.

Asked what the US was going to do about Pakistan, Clinton said that as Defence Secretary Robert Gates had noted, “we believe that it was not proven that anybody at the top of the government in Pakistan knew where bin Laden was, but it seems likely that somebody did know”.

But Clinton recalled that the first time she went to Pakistan, she had told the Pakistanis: “It’s hard to believe that somebody in your government somewhere - and it could be some very low-level person - doesn’t know where he is.”

“We’ve had good cooperation on many important strategic interests of the United States with Pakistan, and we have supported them in their own fight against the extremists who are killing and threatening their people. But we expect more,” she said.

The US was now “having very candid conversations with our Pakistani partners”, Clinton said, “about what more we can do together”.

Asked about her plans to go to Pakistan, she said: “Well, we’ll see how the conversations go.”

US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman was there now, following up on some of the areas of concern, Clinton said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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