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Pakistan Says No Complicity With Al-Qaeda


Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir (file photo)
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir says that accusations that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency colludes with Al-Qaeda are false and cannot be substantiated.

Bashir, who is the top official at Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, was speaking at the first news conference since U.S. forces killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2.

He said the ISI had been sharing critical information with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

"To infer that elements of the ISI or of the government were actually providing cover to Osama bin Laden is absolutely wrong," Bashir said.

"In fact -- and this is what has been admitted even by the United States government -- some of the leads that led to the identification of this particular place resulted from the information sharing between the ISI and the CIA."

However, Bashir warned that any further attempt at raiding Pakistan's territory would have "disastrous consequences."

In a statement today, Pakistan's army threatened to review cooperation with the United States if it conducted more raids like the one that killed bin Laden.

The army also admitted to intelligence "shortcomings" on pinpointing bin Laden's location, and ordered an investigation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said Washington's relationship with Islamabad "is not always an easy one" but that Pakistan had been "an important partner in our counterterrorism efforts."

Clinton, speaking in Rome, said the United States remained "committed to supporting the people and the democracy that Pakistan is representing now."

compiled from agency reports