Statements by Government Officials about Pakistan
Date: May 7, 2012
NDTV, “We the People,” Interview with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
MS. DUTT: I’m so glad you brought up the example of Hafiz Saeed and the decision you authorized that was announced in the U.S. Justice Department, and you saw the response here. There’s been some confusion. Initially it was announced as a bounty on his head, then it turned out to be a reward for information that could lead to his arrest or conviction. Indians say we’ve handed over dossier after dossier, and all the information that is needed is there in those dossiers. Are you saying there isn’t enough information?
SEC. CLINTON: No, but we’re saying that — this is the way our system works. I mean, that’s what these rewards are. They are rewards for information that can lead to bringing somebody to justice. We’re well aware that there has not yet been the steps taken by the Pakistani Government to do what both India and the United States have repeatedly requested that they do. And we’re going to keep pushing that point. So it’s a way of raising the visibility and pointing out to those who are associated with him that there is a cost for that, and it is a cost that they themselves will have to bear going forward.
MS. DUTT: And could there be another OBL-type operation needed in Pakistan or anywhere else?
SEC. CLINTON: I’m not going to comment on that. I mean, we’ve made it clear that we would like very much to have the kind of counterterrorism partnership with Pakistan where we went after the targets that were killing Afghans, Americans, and others in Afghanistan, and after the targets that were killing Pakistanis in Pakistan. I mean, Pakistan has lost far more people in the last 10 years — more than 30,000 to terrorist attacks than either India or the United States have. And it is in their interest and it is in the interest of their sovereignty to go after terrorists who are operating on their territory, and you have to demonstrate that you’re not going to cede authority or territory to terrorists. So we’re going to continue to work to try to have a mutually beneficial framework for them.
State Department Regular Briefing
Q: On Warren Weinstein, the American –
MR. TONER: Sure.
Q: — who disappeared in Pakistan and the video that showed up over the weekend, I’m wondering, has the U.S. continued to work with the Pakistani government on this case in the past few months while there’s been a pause in relations?
MR. TONER: We are. We’re actually assisting in the — in the investigation, and that cooperation continues. I — you know, I’d refer you to the appropriate U.S. agencies or law enforcement agencies for more details on that, but I’m not sure, frankly, what details they can give as the investigation continues. And we –
Q: Did you — (off mic) — that cooperation continued even while –
MR. TONER: It has continued throughout. We obviously remain very, very concerned about the safety and well-being of Mr. Weinstein. We want to call or we have called and continue to call for his immediate release, and we continue to cooperate closely with Pakistani authorities on the ongoing investigation. And we’re obviously also in close contact with Mr. Weinstein’s family, offering appropriate consular assistance as they request it.
Q: But it’s unlikely that you’ll accept the demands made in the video. Is that a safe assumption?
MR. TONER: It is. I mean, as you know, we don’t make concessions to terrorists. Yeah, in the back. Over on the side and then over to Michel (sp).
Q: On Pakistan, Foreign Minister Khar said that she wanted Secretary Clinton or the United States to give evidence that Ayman al- Zawahri was in Pakistan following Secretary Clinton’s statement on the same matter in India. Has anything been provided officially to Pakistan, or has that request from Foreign Minister Khar been given — been formally communicated to the U.S.?
MR. TONER: I’m not aware that it has been formally communicated, and I haven’t really seen her remarks in full, so it’s hard for me to comment on them. You know where we are in our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan. You know, we continue to view it as a — as a — as a threat to both our countries, and we want to take steps to work cooperatively with Pakistan.
Q: As a follow-up, has any information in the last three or four months prior to Secretary
Clinton’s statement been provided that Ayman al-Zawahri is in fact in Pakistan or not?
MR. TONER: Well, I don’t know that we would discuss that in any case, so — but I don’t have any comment on that.
Q: So Secretary Clinton talking in India — she — when she mentioned Ayman Zawahiri, she also talked about Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba. And she said that U.S. would continue to put pressure on Pakistan to take action against the established elements. What kind of pressure tactics you are talking about at the moment when everything is already at a standstill? And do you think such statements would further rile up Pakistanis?
MR. TONER: Well, first of all, I don’t think it’s fair to say right now that everything’s at a standstill with Pakistan. We’ve had a series of high-level meetings over the past month to two months, you know, that we believe is laying the groundwork for renewed cooperation. We’ve had this parliamentary review completed. We had Ambassador Grossman over there talking to Pakistani officials. And our counterterrorism cooperation has continued throughout this period. With respect to what Secretary Clinton said in — earlier today in India, you know, we’ve been very clear why this program is — particularly our Rewards for Justice program was put in place. We want to see this individual brought to justice. You know, as you remember at the time, there was a lot of speculation on why we did this, because everyone knows he’s in Pakistan. What we want to do is give the Pakistani authorities the judicial wherewithal to bring this guy to justice. You know, at the time we used the phrase — and then continue to use evidence that can withstand judicial scrutiny. You know, whether he’s tried in a Pakistani court or in a U.S. court or wherever, we want to see him brought to justice.
Q: Yes, so when you talk about these high-level contacts that are supposed to lay the groundwork, would you disagree with the reports that have emerged in Pakistan and United States after Grossman’s visit that the first round of talks ended in a stalemate on the critical issues?
MR. TONER: Again, I think this is — you know, we talked about this before. We don’t see eye to eye with Pakistan on every issue, that’s for sure. But I think we approached, you know, the outcome of this parliamentary review with an open mind. I think we’re willing to discuss all the issues that were raised by it. But that dialogue’s really just begun.
CNN, “State of the Union.”
Host: Candy Crowley
Guest: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI)
MS. CROWLEY: You were just over in Afghanistan. You did speak with President Karzai. First, I want to ask you, how does he assess the relative strength of the Taliban? I know you and the president have different visions of whether the president thinks they’re weaker, you think they’re stronger. I want to get your opinion and then find out what President Karzai thinks.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Well, President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I’m not so sure. The Taliban has a shadow system of governors in many provinces. They’ve gone up north. They’ve gone to the east. Attacks are up. The number –
MS. CROWLEY: So they are stronger now.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: — of people attacking out of Miramshah have killed over 500 of our people. So there is a strength. Now let me say something about that strength because this is where Pakistan enters the equation. The Pakistani radical madrassas are fueling a new generation of fighter. So that an insurgency which one can expect will burn itself out after a period of time, will not necessarily burn out –
MS. CROWLEY: New recruits.
SEN. FEINSTEIN: — because there are new recruits, that’s right. So we were not able to go to Pakistan. I think that was a huge mistake for us because if we had the chance to talk to the Pakistani leader, to say, look, we want to make things better. Two, we need your help. We need your help on the IED factories. We need your help to see that the Haqqani in North Waziristan is stopped. We need your help with Miramshah. We didn’t have that chance.
MS. CROWLEY: So can I just — do you think that comparing it to when the surge came in Afghanistan, when the president sent more troops in, is the Taliban now weaker or stronger?
SEN. FEINSTEIN: I think we’d both say that what we found is that the Taliban is stronger.
Daily Press Briefing
May 4, 2012
MR. TONER: We can go to Pakistan.
QUESTION: Any update on Secretary Grossman’s visit? And also, at the same time, Pakistan is also calling that drone attacks must be stopped by the U.S.
MR. TONER: I don’t really have an update on possible next visits. As you know, we’re trying to engage with the Pakistani Government after this parliamentary review. I can’t address your specific question, but when it comes to counterterrorism, we’re certainly going to listen to their views and share our own in a spirit, I think, of collaboration and cooperation.
QUESTION: And one more internal.
MR. TONER: Yeah.
QUESTION: What do you make as far as (inaudible) Usama bin Ladin papers released? And also, at the same time, do you still believe that some of the papers he left behind in Pakistan and Pakistani officials have some of the papers with them?
MR. TONER: I really can’t speak to the latter or the second part of your question. And for the first part, I would just refer you to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, who are the curators of this set of documents. I don’t really have anything to add to what’s already been said in – from multiple fora.
QUESTION: But latter part: Have you had any discussion with the Pakistani officials or if they had a discussion with you if there are more papers to be in their hands after they razed this – razed his residence?
MR. TONER: I really don’t have any details. I mean, I know that there were many documents that were taken and that the documents that went to West Point are a sampling of many of those documents. But as to what may have remained behind, I don’t have any information about that.