Flournoy: Pakistan Must Strengthen Cooperation

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 — Pak­istan needs to strength­en its coun­tert­er­ror­ism coop­er­a­tion with the Unit­ed States as one result of the May 1 raid that killed al-Qai­da leader Osama bin Laden, the under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy said here today.
In remarks at the Aspen Insti­tute, Michele Flournoy said U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials are talk­ing with the Pak­ista­nis to try to under­stand “what they knew and what they didn’t know” with regard to Osama bin Laden hid­ing in plain sight at a one-acre com­pound about 35 miles north of the cap­i­tal city of Islam­abad.

“We have no defin­i­tive evi­dence at this point that they knew if Osama bin Laden was at this com­pound,” she said. The oper­a­tion dealt a very severe blow against al-Qai­da, she said, and the Unit­ed States will use this in deal­ing with allies and foes alike.

“It has demon­strat­ed U.S. resolve, it has demon­strat­ed U.S. capa­bil­i­ty, and I think that puts us in a very strong posi­tion both to pres­sure the al-Qai­da net­work fur­ther, but also to incen­tivize fur­ther coop­er­a­tion with our coun­tert­er­ror­ism part­ners — not only Pak­istan, but around the world,” Flournoy said. “This is a real moment of oppor­tu­ni­ty for us in mak­ing fur­ther gains against al-Qai­da.”

Flournoy said she has been talk­ing with Pak­istani allies about the impor­tance of strength­en­ing coun­tert­er­ror­ism coop­er­a­tion “and mov­ing for­ward in a way in which the coop­er­a­tion is vis­i­ble and con­crete and unde­ni­able.”

The Navy SEAL team that con­duct­ed the raid also took mate­ri­als from the com­pound that intel­li­gence ana­lysts are sift­ing through now, and Pak­istan can help with this, Flournoy said.

“There’s great oppor­tu­ni­ty for coop­er­a­tion in mak­ing sense of what we learn from the mate­ri­als gath­ered in the oper­a­tion,” she said, “from under­stand­ing the net­work as it remains and how to put fur­ther pres­sure on the net­work to has­ten its demise, and more broad­ly to coop­er­ate in a way that ulti­mate­ly helps sta­bi­lize not only Pak­istan but Afghanistan.”

Flournoy described the con­tacts as “very can­did,” and stressed the need for con­crete moves on the Pak­ista­nis’ part to prove their com­mit­ment.

The oper­a­tion also has rel­e­vance in Afghanistan, the under­sec­re­tary said. “I would hope the Tal­iban are re-think­ing their future,” she said.

The Unit­ed States sup­ports an Afghan-led rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, Flournoy said, in which the Tal­iban would have to renounce al-Qai­da, renounce vio­lence and agree to abide by the Afghan con­sti­tu­tion.

Now that bin Laden is dead, she said, the per­son­al ties that con­nect­ed senior Tal­iban lead­ers to him are bro­ken.

“And that cre­ates an oppor­tu­ni­ty for them to step for­ward and renounce al-Qai­da and any affil­i­a­tion with it,” she added.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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