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UK says Osama must have had Pakistani support

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 3, 2011, 9:56 PM IST
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UK says Osama must have had Pakistani support
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Osama bin Laden must have had a support network in Pakistan.

London: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden must have had a support network in Pakistan, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday, promising to continue to cooperate with the Pakistanis to fight extremism.

The disclosure bin Laden had holed up in a luxury compound in the military garrison town of Abbottabad, possibly for five to six years, before he was killed in a US raid has prompted many US lawmakers to demand a review of US aid to Pakistan.

Cameron said "the fact that bin Laden was living in a large house in a populated area suggests that he must have had a support network in Pakistan."

"We don't currently know the extent of that network, so it is right that we ask searching questions about it. And we will," he told Britain's parliament.

However, he said it was in Britain's national interest to recognize that Britain and Pakistan shared the same struggle against terrorism.

"That's why we will continue to work with our Pakistani counterparts on intelligence gathering, tracing plots and taking action to stop them. It's why we will continue to honor our aid promises...," he said.

If progress is made on reforms, British aid to Pakistan will average 350 million pounds ($580 million) a year over the next four years, the government says.

Britain needs Pakistani cooperation to help bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, where it has some 9,500 troops.

Security cooperation with Pakistan is also important because British officials say many terror plots affecting Britain in recent years originated in mountainous areas of Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Cameron said Britain must be more vigilant than ever about security threats following the killing of bin Laden.

Speaking to the BBC earlier, Cameron said bin Laden's death was unlikely to speed up the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. Britain aims to have its combat troops out of Afghanistan by 2015.

"It is clearly a helpful development, I don't think it will necessarily change any timetables, but we should use it as an opportunity to say to the Taliban, now is the moment to separate yourself from al Qaeda, to give up violence, to accept the basic tenets of the Afghan constitution," Cameron said.

First Published: May 3, 2011, 9:56 PM IST
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