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US will 'love' Pak to capture Osama: Armitage
July 16, 2004 21:21 IST
Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri could be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders and the Bush administration would "love" Pakistan to be successful in capturing them, United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said.
"Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri could be hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan and could be among those Taliban militants who could go back and forth to Afghanistan," said Armitage who left for Kabul yesterday after holding talks with Pakistani leaders.
"We do think there are high value targets (HVT) in the area and we love Pakistan to be successful in capturing them, so that we all could make more rapid progress on the war on terror," he told Pakistan's ARY TV channel in an interview.
Recent US media reports said Pakistan was pressurised to get a "HVT" before the November presidential polls to boost the chances for George W Bush's re-election.
Armitage said the HVTs certainly include Osama and Zawahiri, and "...they could be on the Afghan side they could be in the tribal areas, they may go back and forth with others and sooner or later they would be found out."
On the crackdown on Taliban, Armitage said some members of the militia are entering Afghanistan even though they are not being supported by the government of Pakistan.
Armitage said there are "certain foreign fighter elements" entrenched in Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan and in the last operation by Pakistan several of them were either captured or killed.
Asked about the Pakistan forces operations in Waziristan, he said he was sorry for the deaths of 75 Pakistani soldiers and injuries to others in the operations.
Denying any US pressure on Pakistan in this regard he said Islamabad was doing it because government has come to the 'conclusion that it is in the country's interest'.
On the nuclear cooperation, Armitage said US was grateful to Pakistan for cracking down on nuclear scientist A Q Khan who admitted to proliferating nuclear technology.
"There is no complaint that I had during my recent stay here to make the government of Pakistan about proliferation," he said.
He, however, said the US expects Pakistan to do what is in the interest of international community. "We think proliferation of the technology that could be used in the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction is in no one's interest," he said.