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If needed, US 'will hunt terrorists in Pak again'

Last updated on: May 22, 2011 15:41 IST

If needed, we will hunt terrorists in Pak again: Obama



United States President Barack Obama on Sunday said that he would approve an Abbottabad-like operation which killed Osama bin Laden if another militant leader was found in Pakistan.

Speaking to the BBC on the eve of his visit to Britain, Obama said that he was mindful of Pakistani sovereignty but said the US could not allow 'active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action.'

Asked what he would do if one of Al Qaeda's top leaders, or the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, was tracked down to a location in Pakistan or another sovereign territory, he said the US would take unilateral action if required.

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Image: A boy plays with a tennis ball in front of the compound where US Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad
Photographs: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

'Our job is to secure the United States'

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He said, "Our job is to secure the United States. We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies' people. We can't allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action."

The raid on May 2 in Abbottabad has raised hackles in Islamabad and generated tension between US and Pakistan.

Recalling the raid, Obama said "that was as long a 40 minutes as I care to experience during my presidency".

He added that the killing of bin Laden could be a "wake-up call where we start seeing a more effective co-operative relationship" with Pakistan.

Image: US President Barack Obama listens during one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House
Photographs: Handout/Reuters
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'Taliban would have to cut all ties with Al Qaeda'

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On Afghanistan, Obama said that while the conflict could not be solved militarily, raising troop levels had put the Taliban "back on its heels" in a way that could facilitate the brokering of a political reconciliation.

"Ultimately it means talking to the Taliban," he said, adding that the "Taliban would have to cut all ties to Al Qaeda, renounce violence and they would have to respect the Afghan constitution".

Obama is due to leave for Europe later on Sunday. He will first visit the Irish Republic, then the UK, France, and Poland.

Image: Osama bin Laden is shown watching himself on television, with U.S. President Barack Obama also on screen, in this video frame grab released by the Pentagon
Photographs: Reuters
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