Added At: 2010-07-19 11:01 PM
Last Updated At: 2010-07-20 11:01 PM
Agence France Presse
ISLAMABAD; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today announced major aid projects for Pakistan as she sought tougher action from Islamabad to combat militants ahead of a key donor meeting in Afghanistan.
Clinton is bidding to build on a shaky alliance with Pakistan, whose mountainous western border shields Taliban militants fighting the insurgency next door, as well as groups responsible for attacks in the United States.
The aid, focused on water and energy needs, is part of US efforts to deepen engagement with the Asian nuclear power and overcome rife anti-Americanism after years of perceived neglect of bilateral relations.
Washington believes Pakistan is integral to any result in the Afghan war and has long voiced concern that Pakistan’s powerbrokers were supporting Taliban insurgents, despite crackdowns by the military in some border areas.
Clinton met Pakistan’s prime minister and president on Sunday and in a media interview acknowledged greater joint efforts on terrorism, but called for “additional measures” from Islamabad to combat militants on its soil. “There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting the Pakistanis to take,” she told the BBC.
A Pakistani-American arrested over the botched car bombing in New York’s Times Square in May allegedly received explosives training from experts linked to the Pakistani militant group the Tehrik-e-Taliban.
The group operates from the tribal zones of Pakistan, considered by Washington to be the global headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban and their allies in Al-Qaeda, as well as a base camp for the Afghan Taliban. Clinton confirmed that Washington planned to formally designate Pakistan’s Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation.
A senior US official said closer ties with Pakistan’s powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani were helping in the struggle against the militant Haqqani network.
Clinton was due to meet Kayani for closed-door discussions later today before travelling to Kabul for a key international conference focused on charting a course for the war-torn country’s future involving less dependency on its Western backers. “We have moved beyond a stand-off where we are engaged in a most important dialogue,” Clinton said.
Says Bin Laden in Pak
Islamabad: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday she believed Osama bin Laden was still in Pakistan. In a television interview between high-level talks in Islamabad, she said, “I believe that bin Laden is here in Pakistan and it would be very helpful if we could take Al-Qaeda leaders.” Last month head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said Al-Qaeda mastermind bin Laden remained in “very deep hiding”, nine years after the world’s most-wanted fugitive first disappeared following the 2001 attacks.