Monday, May 23, 2011

Obama vows more raids inside Pakistan

US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama says that he would order covert operations similar to the one that the US says killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden inside Pakistan.

Obama said the US would take unilateral action if another al-Qaeda or Taliban leader is found in Pakistan. Obama's comments come as ties between Islamabad and Washington remain tense over the attack that allegedly killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad town near the Pakistani capital.

"Our job is to secure the United States," he told the state-run BBC during a wide-ranging interview.

"We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies' people; we can't allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action," he added.

In early May, President Obama announced that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed in a US military attack on a compound near the Pakistani capital.

Washington claims its special forces killed bin Laden in the attack without informing Islamabad.

CIA chief Leon Panetta said the US did not inform Pakistani authorities about the raid since they feared Islamabad might disrupt the mission.

Some White House officials suggest that Islamabad was aware of bin Laden's location and demand a strong response.

But others believe any retaliatory measure will jeopardize Pakistan's help which is crucial to America's military operations in Afghanistan.

Pakistani lawmakers have recently passed a resolution condemning the recent US raid inside Pakistan that allegedly killed bin Laden, demanding a review of ties with the US and other Western countries.

It warned that the repetition of such attacks could have dire consequences for peace and security in the region and the world.

Meanwhile, Washington's refusal to provide photos of bin Laden's body and the announcement that he was buried at sea has fuelled serious doubts about the claim.

Moreover, a number of former US military personnel and commanders have also stated that bin Laden was killed in a major bombing during the early stages of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region, however, after nine years the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded towards Pakistan.

Analysts say the US is looking for an excuse to expand its military operations in the troubled South and Central Asian region to secure bases near Russia and China.

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