The recent killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan harkens back to a statement made last summer by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that the Islamabad government knew the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda chief.
During a conference Kabul, Afghanistan in late July 2010, Madame Clinton specifically stated that she believed Osama was in Pakistan and that the Pakistan government –particularly elements of its intelligence agency -- knew his exact whereabouts. She also urged Pakistani intelligence sources to share that knowledge with Washington.
I believe [Osama bin Laden] is here in Pakistan and it would be very helpful if we could take them [Al-Qaeda leaders], she said at that time. I want those guys. I assume somebody in this [Pakistani] government, from top to bottom, does know where Bin Laden is, and I would like to know too,
Clinton reiterated her suspicions to Fox News.
“I think elements in the government do [know the whereabouts of bin Laden]. I’ve said that before. But I think it is also important to know we have been getting with Pakistani cooperation a lot of the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” she said.
“We haven’t gotten bin Laden or Zawahiri, but we’ve consistently been able to track and kill a lot of their principal leadership. So there is a story to be told here. It’s not yet what I want it to be, because as having been a senator from New York on 9/11, I want those guys. I will not be satisfied until we get them. But we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve created a closer cooperative relationship between the United States and Pakistan, in going after what are now common enemies.”
She also vowed to eventually capture or kill Osama.
“I don’t want to put a proximity or timeline on it [getting Osama],” she told Fox News at the time. “As I’ve said, we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers “But I won’t be satisfied until we get it done.”
The US government also believed at that time that Osama’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri was also in Pakistan.
At that time, Pakistani leaders claimed that Osama was not in Pakistan, or that he was already dead.
Clinton also said at the time that she urged Islamabad to get tough on terrorists operating in the country.
“Look, you’ve got to take on every non-governmental armed force inside your country, because even though you think they won’t bother you today, there is no guarantee,” she reportedly told Pakistani senior government officials.
“It's like keeping a poisonous snake in your backyard. Oh, it will only go after the stranger or intruder, You don’t know whether tomorrow it will go after you, so we have been making that case and I find greater receptivity to it, but we still have to make it stronger.”