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Zardari: Pakistan Played Part in Hunt for bin Laden

VOA News May 03, 2011

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was not a joint operation with his country, but stresses that a decade of cooperation with the United States led to the elimination of a "threat to the civilized world."

In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post, Zardari addressed criticism that suggested Pakistan was not aggressively pursuing terrorists, and said his country is perhaps the greatest victim of terrorism.

He said Pakistan takes satisfaction in helping to identify an al-Qaida courier who U.S. officials said helped lead them to bin Laden.

Zardari also said that following bin Laden's death, the war against those who target innocent people has not been won, but the beginning of the end is in sight.

In Pakistan, where U.S. forces found and killed the world's most wanted terrorist, the news shocked many residents and the government was slow to comment.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement late Monday calling bin Laden's death a major setback for terrorist groups around the world. It acknowledged that U.S. forces carried out the mission inside Pakistani territory, but did not say what role Pakistan played in the operation.

The ministry also noted that al-Qaida had declared war on Pakistan and said the country will continue to support international efforts against terrorism.

Some people are angry at the United States for conducting a mission inside Pakistan. Others expressed concern that because bin Laden was found inside Pakistan, and in the same city as the country's elite military academy, the rest of the world could blame their country for knowingly harboring terrorists.

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