News / Asia

Clinton Says Battle Against al-Qaida Continues After bin Laden's Death

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (not in picture) in Rome, May 5, 2011
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (not in picture) in Rome, May 5, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the battle to stop al-Qaida and its affiliates does not end with the death of Osama bin Laden, and that Pakistan is an important partner in counterterrorism efforts.

Speaking in Rome Thursday, Clinton said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is not always easy, but is productive for both countries.  She said the United States will continue to cooperate with the Pakistani government, law enforcement and its people.

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday were more critical, demanding to know what authorities in Pakistan knew about bin Laden and his hideout in the town of Abbottabad. Pakistan insists it had no prior knowledge of bin Laden's location.

The lawmakers said Pakistan is strategically important to the United States, but trust between the two countries cannot continue without a full account of how bin Laden lived in relative comfort in Pakistan for so long.

U.S. civilian aid to Pakistan has totaled nearly $20 billion during the last decade, and Senator Maryland's Barbara Mikulski of Maryland questioned whether the money was well-spent.  The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Republican Peter King, said U.S.-Pakistan ties are important, but that the relationship changed when Osama bin Laden's death was announced.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, on a visit to Paris, said bin Laden's ability to hide in plain sight was "a worldwide intelligence failure, not just Pakistan's."  He said no single nation can fight terrorism alone, adding that his country is "part of the solution, not the problem."

Pakistan also expressed "deep concern" that the United States conducted the raid in Abbottabad "without prior authorization" of Pakistani authorities and said such an "unauthorized unilateral action" should not set a precedent for other nations.

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

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