By Ali Imran
WASHINGTON – Advocating common cause in the fight against al-Qaeda linked terror, the Pentagon has expressed U.S. commitment to continued counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan in the years ahead.
He noted at a Press briefing that ”scores of Pakistanis have regrettably been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan.”
“And we, of course, have suffered losses, as well, inside Pakistan and elsewhere, from Al Qaida and from other terrorist groups operating along the Afghan-Pakistan border. So we have common cause with the Pakistanis. We’re working closely with the Pakistanis on the counterterrorism issue, and we will continue to do so,” he added.
Questioned about revelation of sensitive information regarding US raid on al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad last year, the Press secretary saw no impact of it on US-Pakistan relations.
“I think that we’re in a new place with U.S.-Pakistani relations. We are on better footing these days, so I don’t see any effect this one book has on U.S.-Pakistani relations. We certainly hope it doesn’t have that effect,” he said in response to a question about information in the book “No Easy Day”, ritten by a US Navy Seal, who participated in the raid against al-Qaeda
Asked to comment on alleged attacks from Pakistani side of the border into Afghanistan, the Press Secretary said “this is really an issue for the government of Afghanistan and Pakistan to work out.”
Meanwhile, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the venue of Democratic National Convention, an advisor for President Barack Obama’s election campaign and a former defense official Michelle Flournoy ,has said that the United States values Pakistan as a strategic partner in the region.
“Pakistan has made enormous sacrifices over the years in its fight alongside us against terrorists like al-Qaeda,” she said.
“We have had some ups and downs in the relationship, frankly, but I think both sides are very determined at this point to reinvest and to expand areas of cooperation particularly focused on the common enemy that we both have to deal with in al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region,” said Flournoy, who served the Obama Administration as Under Secretary of Defence for Policy for two years.
At the State Department, spokesman Patrick Ventrell reiterated US condemnation of the attack on American personnel in Peshawar.
“We pray for the safe recovery of both American and Pakistani victims of this attack. We deplore this cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism that is – that took the lives of Pakistanis and indeed injured two of our personnel ——- we’re absolutely investigating. The FBI is taking part in that investigation, is leading that (American) investigation.”
“Diplomatic security will assist as well. But to our knowledge, no one had claimed responsibility for the attack, and we’re not going to speculate at this period on who may be responsible.”
Regarding investigation by both Pakistan and the US into the Peshawar attack, Ventrell explained:
“Obviously, when you have U.S. personnel involved, we do our own investigation, but we’ll absolutely be collaborating with our Pakistani partners. And we really are thankful to the Pakistani Government and law enforcement authorities. We commend the bravery of Pakistani security officials who saved lives, including the lives of our two personnel. So we’re thankful to them, and I – if they have an investigation going forward, obviously we’ll work with them. But the FBI will lead an American piece of our own investigation.”
- Suicide bomber targets US in Pakistan (news.smh.com.au)
- Official: Driver saved lives in Pakistan attack (cbsnews.com)
- Two American consulate employees wounded in Pakistan bomb attack – Reuters (in.reuters.com)