Elements in the Pakistan Government, in particular its intelligence establishment, know where Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, is hiding inside the country, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, declaring America will not be satisfied till it gets the most wanted fugitive of the world.
“I don’t want to put a proximity or timeline on it (getting bin Laden). As I’ve said, we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers,” Ms. Clinton said in an interview to the Fox News channel in Islamabad.
She said the U.S. and international forces were getting closer to the fugitive. “But I won’t be satisfied until we get it done,” she said.
The Secretary of State said she believes that some elements in the Pakistan Government knows where Osama is hiding.
“I think elements in the government do (know the whereabouts of bin Laden). I’ve said that before. But I think it is also important to know we have been getting with Pakistani cooperation a lot of the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” she said.
“We haven’t gotten bin Laden or Zawahiri, but we’ve consistently been able to track and kill a lot of their principal leadership. So there is a story to be told here. It’s not yet what I want it to be, because as having been a senator from New York on 9/11, I want those guys. I will not be satisfied until we get them,” she said.
“But we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve created a closer cooperative relationship between the United States and Pakistan, in going after what are now common enemies,” she said.
Referring to Pakistan taking up the fight against militant groups, Ms. Clinton said that there were arguments put forward by Islamabad that how many fights that they can take on with various groups.
To this, Ms. Clinton said she had told the Pakistani leadership “look, you’ve got to take on every non-governmental armed force inside your country, because even though you think they won’t bother you today, there is no guarantee. It’s like keeping a poisonous snake in your backyard. Oh, it will only go after the stranger or intruder, You don’t know whether tomorrow it will go after you, so we have been making that case and I find greater receptivity to it, but we still have to make it stronger,” the U.S. Secretary said in an another interview in MSNBC on the same topic.
On Pakistan’s cooperation in the hunt, Clinton said, “I think that’s because if I put myself into a position of leadership in our own government, and if there were a terrorist network operating somewhere, even in the most remote place in the United States, some sheriff, some local state policeman, somebody in our collective government would probably know that there was something suspicious going on,” she said.
“So that’s why I assume somebody, somebody in this government, from top to bottom, does know where bin Laden is. And I’d like to know too,” Ms. Clinton said.
“Top levels of the government say they don’t know, to be fair to them. It would be similar, again, if somebody walked into my office and said ‘do you know where the bad guy in the Mexican cartel is on our side of the border?’ I would say I don’t know, but I assume somebody knows. So I think we’ve got to keep pressure on, which we are doing,” she argued.
At the same time, she acknowledged that the relationship with Pakistan has not been at its best.
“We inherited a situation with such mistrust between the United States and Pakistan that it takes day-by-day confidence-building. And we’ve been doing that,” she said.
“It is not to get just a good relationship at the top. You have to go through the bureaucracy. So to go back to my example about if I said who is it who knows where the Mexican cartel leader is? Somebody must know. It is somebody in the bowels of the bureaucracy. You have to set a new tone, you have to set a new sense of direction and authority. And I think that is happening,” Ms. Clinton argued.