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Homeland Security

Pakistan Calls bin Laden's Death Setback to Terrorist Groups

VOA News May 02, 2011

Pakistan is calling Osama bin Laden's death a major setback for terrorist groups around the world, as the Pakistani Taliban vows to step up attacks against U.S. and Pakistani interests.

The Pakistani foreign ministry said Monday U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari earlier on Monday to discuss the killing of bin Laden during a U.S. military operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

The Pakistani spokesperson said the operation late Sunday was conducted in accordance with declared U.S. policy that bin Laden will be "eliminated" by U.S. forces, "wherever found in the world."

The government's response came several hours after President Obama's announcement of bin Laden's death.

Few knew of plan

The al-Qaida leader was killed during a night raid by elite U.S. forces on a highly-secure house in the city of Abbottabad, roughly 50 kilometers north of the capital, Islamabad.

Officials told VOA the U.S. did not share intelligence about the operation with any country, including Pakistan, and that very few people in the U.S. government knew of the plan in advance.

The foreign ministry noted Monday that al-Qaida had declared war on Pakistan, with nearly 30,000 civilians and 5,000 members of the security forces killed in terrorist attacks in the last few years.

Bin Laden wives, children detained

Meanwhile, the Pakistan English-language television station Express 24/7 reports two of Osama bin Laden's wives and six of his children have been detained by U.S. forces. The station also reports that four of the terrorist leader's aides have also been arrested.

The Pakistani Taliban on Monday threatened further attacks against the Pakistani and U.S. governments in revenge for bin Laden's death.

The foreign ministry said Pakistan has played a significant role in efforts to fight terrorism and that its soil will not be used in terrorist attacks against any country.

The statement comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Pakistan, following the arrest of a CIA contractor in Pakistan, U.S. drone strikes against militant strongholds in northwest Pakistan, and a recent White House report saying Pakistan is not doing enough to target Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants on its soil.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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