Hillary Clinton: Pakistan must ensure it is not used as a launching pad for terrorism
Clinton says U.S. believes al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is in hiding in Pakistan
She says the foiled Yemen plot shows extremists continue to devise '"perverse" ways to kill
She touts a rewards program intended to obtain information about suspected terrorists
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to do more in the fight against global terrorism Tuesday, saying that the latest plot in Yemen shows that extremists continue to devise more “perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people.”
Speaking at a New Delhi news conference at the end of her three-nation trip to Asia, Clinton said Washington was committed to going after anyone who posed a threat to the United States or its allies.
“We look to the government of Pakistan to do more,” she told reporters. “It needs to make sure its territory is not used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks anywhere, including inside of Pakistan.”
Earlier, Clinton had said the United States believed several significant al Qaeda leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, were on the run and living inside Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri inherited the terrorist network’s leadership after the death of Osama bin Laden, who spent years on the lam in Pakistan, fleeing from safe house to safe house, according to one of his widows.
“We are intent upon going after those who are trying to keep al Qaeda operational and inspirational,” Clinton said in an interview with India’s NDTV.
Clinton’s remarks on Pakistan came after a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who equally pressured Pakistan to act against perpetrators of terrorism in India, especially the 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
Clinton said the Rewards for Justice program, aimed at obtaining information that could help convict suspected terrorists, demonstrated Washington’s seriousness in going after such people.
The program, established in 1984, has paid about $100 million to more than 70 people for information about terrorists. Rewards go as high as $25 million for information on al-Zawahiri and $10 million for information about Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, a Pakistani man wanted by Indian authorities in connection with the Mumbai attacks.
Clinton said the foiled bomb plot in Yemen served as evidence that terrorists are getting more sophisticated.
Investigators said terrorists in Yemen crafted an explosive device intended to slip past airport metal detectors and onto an airplane bound for the United States.
“The plot itself indicates that the terrorists keep trying … to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people,” Clinton said. “It is a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant at home and abroad in protecting our nation and in protecting friendly nations and peoples like India and others.”