U.S. Senator John Kerry has issued a list of “specific demands” to the head of the Pakistani army with respect to Washington’s suspicions that top officials in the South Asian country had been harboring al-Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden for years.
Kerry, who is also chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reportedly submitted the demands to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani soon after arriving in Pakistan Sunday night.
Kayani reportedly told Kerry how the Pakistan army resented the fact that the commando raid on bin Laden was conducted without their knowledge or cooperation.
Relations between the US and Islamabad are nearly at the breaking point following the discovery (and subsequent killing) of bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad, just outside the Pakistani capital.
Kerry has a delicate balancing act to perform as he meets with senior Pakistani officials – demanding accountability for its actions with respect to bin Laden (and other wanted terrorists), while seeking to maintain a strategic alliance with a key partner in the war against terror.
“The important thing is to understand that major, significant events have taken place in last days that have a profound impact on what we have called the war on terror, a profound impact on our relationship as a result,” Kerry told reporters in Afghanistan, prior to his arrival in Pakistan.
He also said: “we need to find a way to march forward if it is possible. If it is not possible, there are a set of downside consequences that can be profound.”