British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has a message for Pakistan: you’ve taken some measures against Al Qaeda but you need to get tougher on it and Osama bin Laden:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on Pakistan to take tougher action against al Qaeda and step up its efforts to track down the group’s leader Osama bin Laden.
Brown said the efforts of British and coalition forces in Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban insurgency needed to be matched by more effective action by the Pakistan government and forces on their side of the border.
“Brown called President (Asif Ali) Zardari yesterday, he expressed support for what Pakistani forces are doing against the Pakistani Taliban but said he wanted to see tougher action against the leadership of al Qaeda,” a British official said.
The official said Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani would be coming to London on Thursday to meet with Brown.
In television interviews on Sunday, Brown said that while progress had been made by Pakistani forces in South Waziristan, a bastion of the Pakistani Taliban, there were still big issues to deal with in the country.
“People are going to ask why, eight years after 2001, Osama bin Laden has never been near to being caught … and what can the Pakistan authorities do that is far more effective,” he told Sky news.
“Al Qaeda has a base in Pakistan, that base is still there that they are able to recruit from abroad,” he said. “The Pakistan authorities must convince us that they are taking all the action that is necessary to deal with that threat.”
He also questioned why there had been no evidence to lead to the capture of bin Laden and his second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri, despite people in Pakistan knowing where they are.
Brown’s comments came within the context of this news about a U.S. Senate report that says Bush administration officials missed a chance to capture bin Laden in December 2001.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.