|White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
© AFP Saul Loeb
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House said Wednesday that US President Barack Obama reserves the right to act again against top terror suspects inside Pakistan, following the raid which killed Osama bin Laden.
Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney was asked whether the president would be prepared to target fugitives again if they were on Pakistani soil, despite Islamabad’s complaints the bin Laden raid was unauthorized and unilateral.
“He made very clear during the campaign that that was his view. He was criticized for it,” Carney said.
“He maintained that that was his view and, by the actions he has taken as president, feels that it was the right approach and continues to feel that way,” he said.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-senator Obama said that he would order action against bin Laden or other senior Al-Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan if the country’s leadership “is unable or unwilling to act.”
Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, accused Obama of effectively threatening an allied nation and said that if a target came into view, “you work with the Pakistani government.”
US officials have said that they gave no prior notice to Pakistan before Sunday’s daring raid, in which special forces killed the world’s most wanted man at a mansion near the country’s top military academy in Abbottabad.
CIA director Leon Panetta said that the United States chose not to alert Pakistan of the operation on its soil for fear that officials may have alerted the Al-Qaeda chief.
Pakistan has been on the defensive since Sunday’s attack, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani saying that the United States and other countries shared the blame for not finding bin Laden sooner.
The United States has an uneasy partnership with Pakistan, which supported Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban regime until the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda.
Pakistan has often voiced anger at US operations against Al-Qaeda targets on its soil, particularly strikes with unmanned drones which the government says make a mockery of its sovereignty.
The United States carried out more than 100 drone strikes in Pakistan last year, killing more than 670 people, according to an AFP tally.
© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license