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US to bomb Pak's Quetta if it gets actionable intelligence

Last updated on: December 15, 2009 13:54 IST

Even as the Pakistani political and military leadership has reacted strongly to the proposed US drone strikes inside the country, US President Barack Obama has warned that America would launch missile attacks inside Pakistan if it gets actionable intelligence about the presence of top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in a particular area.

Obama's latest statement clearly contradicts his earlier remarks in the US media where he was quoted as saying that he is not is favour of bombing suspected Taliban hideouts in and around Quetta.

In an interview to US television channel CBS, Obama said Washington is aware that it had to respect Pakistan's sovereignty, but it also expected Islamabad to cooperate more effectively in the future that it has in the past.

"Well, I don't want to comment on certain sensitive aspects to our efforts in this border region. I think it is fair to say, number one, that my principle, and I articulated this in the campaign, is if we've got actual war intelligence on high-ranking Al Qaeda leaders, or for that matter high-ranking Taliban leaders who are directing actions against US troops --then we will take action," The Dawn quoted Obama, as saying.

The US president reiterated that taking on the extremists, who are based in the tribal regions along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, is in Pakistan's own interests as they are threatening the country's stability.

"This isn't America's war. This isn't the West's war. This is a situation in which you've got a very dangerous, extremist network that is growing, and right now is killing more Pakistanis than anybody else," Obama said.

When asked that if he believed the Pakistanis have any appetite for going into Quetta and finding Mullah Omar, Obama admitted that it takes time to operationalise troops, but added that he expected to see progress over the next couple of years.

"I think that the Pakistanis recognise that these networks are killing Pakistanis a lot more than they're killing Americans right now, and that it's in their interest to start moving in a new direction," he added.
Source: ANI