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Rice Says Pakistan Committed to Mumbai Investigation

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Pakistan's leaders understand the importance of finding the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and are committed to fighting terrorism. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad, where the secretary held talks with Pakistani officials.

In recent days, senior U.S. officials have called for Pakistan to do more against militant extremists, following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. On her way to Islamabad, Secretary Rice said robust action is needed.

But after meeting with Pakistan's president, prime minister and other senior officials, Rice called her conversations quite satisfactory and said leaders pledged to support the Mumbai investigation.

She also downplayed speculation that India could launch military strikes against Pakistani targets associated with the Mumbai plot.

"Let me be very clear: I have heard nothing but reasonable discussion and responsible discussion in both India and Pakistan about the problem here - about the attack in Mumbai," she said.

In a statement released after his meeting with the secretary, President Asif Zardari pledged strong action against any elements in his country that were involved in the strike.

India has said there is information that a Pakistani militant group that formerly had ties to Pakistan's spy agency was involved in the attack. But Pakistani officials say they are still waiting to see evidence that backs up the allegations.

When asked about the back and forth, the secretary said there is already a lot of information about the attacks.

"There are many mechanisms through which to share information," she said. "And that information needs to be used now to get the perpetrators and prevent them from doing this again."

Rice did not say if she discussed President Zardari's plan to try Pakistani suspects in the plot in Pakistani courts. India has demanded Pakistan turn over those believed to have links to the attack.

Both Condoleezza Rice and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen have been visiting leaders in the two countries this week, trying to calm tensions aggravated by the Mumbai attack.

As investigators continue to try to piece together who helped or planned the plot, Rice said the operation's complexity made it even more important to uncover who was behind it.

"It was a sophisticated attack at a level of sophistication that we have not seen here on the subcontinent before," said Rice. "That means there is urgency to getting to the bottom of it, there is urgency to bringing the perpetrators to justice and to use the information to disrupt and prevent further attacks."

She said the United States and Britain are prepared to help investigators, but so far both India and Pakistan are committed to using their own capabilities to locate and prosecute those responsible.