Washington, Sept 30: Describing US-Pakistan counterterrorism cooperation as `essential to our national security', the White House has said that it expects to have continued cooperation from Islamabad in the war on terror.
"The relationship that we have with Pakistan is complicated but very important. They have been important allies, the Pakistanis have been, in our fight against al Qaeda, and that fight continues. And we expect to have continued cooperation with the Pakistanis on that," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during a media briefing.
He acknowledged the presence of `complications' in bilateral ties between the United States and Pakistan, but noted that the relationship is `important enough'.
"There's no question that we have disagreements, complications in our relationship, and we speak openly and candidly with the Pakistani counterparts -- our Pakistani counterparts about this. But we certainly believe that the relationship is important enough, that the kind of cooperation we get is essential to our national security and we need to continue it, precisely so we can most effectively take the fight to al Qaeda and succeed in that region," said Carney.
Senior Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham had said in an interview on Tuesday: "I would say when it comes to defending American troops, you don''t want to limit yourself. This is not a boots-on-the-ground engagement -- I''m not talking about that, but we have a lot of assets beyond drones."
With reference to Graham's statement, when asked as to what discussions are going on right now with the Pakistanis about military action that might go beyond drones, Carney said: "Well, I'm not sure what he's referring to. Certainly, we take action against the enemies of the United States -- members of al Qaeda -- where we find them. And as you know, in the case of Osama bin Laden, that happened to be in Pakistan."
"The fact of the matter is we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, and one of the problems we've had, which is where this issue arises from, is with the safe havens that the Haqqani network has in Pakistan," the White House Press Secretary said.
"That's an issue that we raised with our Pakistani counterparts, and we continue to have those discussions on a regular basis -- those discussions and discussions about the broad range of areas where we have shared interests and cooperation," he added. (ANI)