Washington: The United States wants a good counter-terrorism relationship with Pakistan as it's in the interests of both the countries, a top American official said on Wednesday.
"It is essential that we have a good counter-terrorism relationship with Pakistan and we believe it's in both of our nations' interests," Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, said at a special State Department briefing held to announce the creation of Bureau of Counter-terrorism.
"This bureau, when we're doing our job right, is also going to be working closely with Pakistan. We hope to continue building civilian capacity for countering terrorism, which is an essential need there and which was one of the working groups of the strategic dialogue that the secretary created with the Pakistanis and which I'm sure is something that we will continue doing. It's in everyone's clearest interest," Benjamin said.
At the same time, the State Department official said there are issues needs to be worked with Pakistan.
"We obviously have issues that are being worked out. The Pakistanis are doing their own review within their parliament. But we look forward to resuming some of their collaborative efforts," he said.
"We are keeping engaged with our post in Islamabad on countering violent extremism, on stability and capacity building, on what we've done in the anti-terrorism assistance program. So we're not going to make any blanket statements that we're not cooperating by any means. Absolutely, we're still working together," he said in response to a question.
Responding to questions in reference to killing of top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the region last year, Benjamin said the core al-Qaeda is certainly under greater pressure than it has been at any time since 9/11.
"But as the President has said and as others have said, the job is not over, and the work goes on," he said.
"2011 was a very successful year in terms of taking some bad actors off the street. And you know, as administration spokesmen have said on many occasions, we will continue to do what we need to safeguard our national security against the groups that carried out the 9/11 attacks," he said.
"I want to underscore we all know that there is no way to shoot our way out of this problem conclusively and forever, and that's why strengthening our engagement with others to support their civilian institutions so that they can actually hold that territory, police that territory, try people who want to carry out violent attacks either against people there or abroad is an absolutely vital undertaking," he said.