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Brookings: Lashkar e Tayyiba, Al Qaeda, and Pakistan: Time to Clean House

Author: Bruce O. Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution
July 20, 2010


While in Kabul this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that "somebody in this Pakistani government does know where Usama bin Laden is hiding" within Pakistan. It is an extraordinary statement, one that the Secretary has made before, and it illustrates dramatically the difficulty America has in working with Pakistan. On the one hand, we suspect elements of the Pakistani army remain closely connected to the global Islamic jihad movement that they helped nurture for three decades; on the other we need their help to defeat the terrorists. As the Secretary pointed out Pakistan has helped us kill or capture many al Qaeda operatives but it is also still where bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are hiding out. Pakistan is our most important ally in the war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, and our most difficult ally.

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