The United States said Monday it was satisfied with Pakistan’s cooperation in the probe of a bomb attempt in New York’s Times Square, seeking to clarify strong words from US leaders.
“We’re very satisfied by the cooperation we’re getting on this particular investigation thus far,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
He said the government of Pakistan had already acted aggressively against the Taliban, and said the United States would “evaluate whether additional steps” were necessary.
Some Pakistani media had wondered if the United States was threatening action after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Sunday of “consequences” in the case of Pakistani-American bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad.
“We’ve made it very clear that if — heaven-forbid — an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences,” Clinton said on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said that the remarks were misconstrued and noted that Clinton had also welcomed Pakistan’s growing cooperation against extremism.
“We think our relations with Pakistan have improved greatly in the last year,” Holbrooke told reporters.
Clinton “herself praised the Pakistan government for what it has done. And so I urge you to not to react to a misrepresentation of what she said,” he said.
The US Congress last year approved a major aid package that devotes 7.5 billion dollars over five years to build Pakistan’s schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions to try to weaken support for extremists.
The US military has also stepped up a campaign of targeting militants in attacks by unmanned drones in lawless tribal areas.
Shahzad, the 30-year-old naturalized American son of a Pakistani air force officer, was pulled off a plane to Dubai and arrested last week for allegedly leaving a sport utility vehicle rigged to explode in Times Square.
US Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday accused the Pakistani Taliban of being behind the May 1 attempted attack, foiled when a street vendor spotted smoke coming from the vehicle.
“We’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Holder said Sunday on ABC’s current affairs talk show “This Week.”
“We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it, and that he was working at their direction.”