'Someone, somewhere' provided support to Osama: Clinton

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Pakistan urgently needed to take decisive steps against militancy and that relations between the two allies, tense since the killing of Osama bin Laden, had reached a turning point.

Clinton, the most senior US official to visit Pakistan since US Navy SEALS killed the al Qaeda leader this month, appeared to be trying to smooth over strains, repeating that there was no evidence that any senior Pakistani officials knew bin Laden's whereabouts.

But she also said she had asked President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani as well as Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani to do more to fight militants.

"This was an especially important visit because we have reached a turning point," Clinton told reporters, after meeting the Pakistani officials with US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. "We look to Pakistan, to the government of Pakistan to take decisive steps in the days ahead.

"America cannot and should not solve Pakistan's problems. But in solving its problems, Pakistan should understand that anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear."

Clinton said Pakistani officials had told her "someone, somewhere" had been providing support for bin Laden in Pakistan, but reiterated there was no evidence of any sort of complicity by senior government officials.

Clinton has emphasised the need to continue working closely with Pakistan.

"This particular relationship with Pakistan is too critical and now is too critical a time to allow whatever differences we may still have with one another impede the progress we must still make together," Mullen told the news conference.

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