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Clinton Justifies US Policy to Pakistani Tribal Leaders

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has again defended U.S. policy to Pakistanis who are growing frustrated with growing violence in the region.

Clinton spoke in Islamabad Friday to a group of tribal leaders from the troubled northwest region. One lawmaker urged Clinton to seek to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and then to extend the effort to Pakistan.

Clinton welcomed the idea of negotiations. But she noted that the U.S. had to take action after the Taliban had refused to hand over al-Qaida leaders responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A day earlier, in Lahore, Clinton told a group of university students that she found it hard to believe that the Pakistani government could not capture al-Qaida leaders if it really wanted to.

In another remnant of September 11, Pakistani forces targeting Taliban strongholds near the Afghan border, found a passport linked to a member of an al-Qaida cell that planned the attack.

The name on the German passport was Said Bahaji, which matches the name of a man believed to be a member of al-Qaida's Hamburg. He is also a close associate of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11 hijackers.

The document indicated that Bahaji had arrived in Karachi on September 4, 2001.

Secretary of State Clinton is ending is wrapping up her three-day diplomatic mission to Pakistan Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.