ISLAMABAD (AP) — The killing of Osama bin Laden is a watershed moment for Pakistan's confrontation with homegrown terrorism, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday. She sought to patch relations rocked by knowledge that the terror mastermind lived for years in a country receiving billions in U.S. counter-terror aid and that the U.S. didn't trust its ally enough to alert Pakistani leaders that the raid was coming.
"We have reached a turning point" following the long hunt for bin Laden, Clinton said after intensive meetings in the Pakistani capital under tight security.
"It is up to the Pakistani people to choose what kind of country they wish to live in," Clinton said, "and it is up to the leaders of Pakistan to deliver results."
Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised Pakistan's stand against some militants and challenged its leaders to take decisive steps to jointly take on al-Qaida. Both the senior leadership of al-Qaida and the Taliban are thought to live in Pakistan, and affiliated militants use safe havens in Pakistan to attacks U.S. forces fighting next door in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials said the U.S. and Pakistan have agreed to take some specific measures together, and Clinton referred to joint operations coming soon.
There were no details on targets or plans. But in one sign of a slight warming trend, CIA and Pakistani intelligence officials completed a joint search of the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad Friday, a Pakistani official said.
The joint search was part of a number of confidence building measures agreed to by CIA deputy Mike Morell and Pakistani intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha in a meeting in Islamabad last week, U.S. and Pakistani officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's office released a statement after the meeting saying that the two sides agreed to "work together in any future actions against high-value targets in Pakistan," and to cooperate on promoting peace in Afghanistan.
The U.S. pair repeated a warning that lower-ranking U.S. officials have been making to Pakistan since the bin Laden raid: The billions of dollars a year in military and development aid to Pakistan will dwindle if Pakistan is seen to play both sides.
Mullen and Clinton met jointly with Zardari, Pakistan's prime minister, the interior minister and the powerful army and spy chiefs. A brief portion of the meetings witnessed by reporters was stiff and awkward, with no smiles among the U.S. delegation. U.S. officials later said the overall mood was serious but productive.