Washington: US President Barack Obama has pressed the Pakistan government to investigate on what kind of support infrastructure al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had at his Abbottabad compound near Islamabad.
“We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don’t know who or what that support network was,” Obama told the ’60 Minutes’ show on the CBS News in his first exclusive interview after bin Laden’s death.
Obama stopped short of saying the Pakistani government was involved, but said: “We don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate.”
His comments came as his top security advisor said there was no evidence so far that the Pakistan Government knew about the al-Qaeda chief’s presence in the country.
“We have already communicated to them, and they have indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had. But these are questions that we’re not gonna be able to answer three or four days after the event. It’s gonna take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site,” Obama said.
Refraining from making any adverse comment on Pakistan given that stakes are high right now, Obama said he has to be careful about sources and methods and how America operates and how it pieced together this intelligence, because they are still be going after terrorists in the future.
“What I can say is that Pakistan, since 9/11, has been a strong counterterrorism partner with us. There have been times where we’ve had disagreements. There have been times where we wanted to push harder, and for various concerns, they might have hesitated. And those differences are real. And they’ll continue,” he said.
“But the fact of the matter is, is that we’ve been able to kill more terrorists on Pakistani soil than just about any place else. We could not have done that without Pakistani cooperation. And I think that this will be an important moment in which Pakistan and the United States gets together and say, ‘All right, we’ve gotten bin Laden, but we’ve got more work to do. And are there ways for us to work more effectively together than we have in the past?’,” he said.
“And that’s gonna be important for our national security. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t gonna be times where we’re gonna be frustrated with Pakistanis. And frankly, there are gonna be times where they’re frustrated with us. You know, they’ve got not only individual terrorists there, but there’s also a climate inside of Pakistan that sometimes is deeply anti-American. And it makes it more difficult for us to be able to operate there effectively,” the President said.
Obama said he did not feel the need of telling anybody in the Pakistani government about this covert operation.
“If I’m not revealing to some of my closest aides what we’re doing’, then I sure as heck am not gonna be revealing it to folks who I don’t know,” he said.