London stands by Islamabad post-bin Laden

May 3, 2011 at 2:14 PM
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LONDON, May 3 (UPI) -- Pakistan is a key ally in the fight against terrorism even though there are signs slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had a support system there, London said.

U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, the co-founder of al-Qaida and the man who sanctioned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, at a heavily fortified compound a short distance away from a main military academy in Pakistan.

Pakistani authorities insist they didn't know bin Laden was near the installation and maintain they were unaware of the U.S. raid on the compound early Monday.

British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt, however, said Islamabad is still a key ally in the fight against terrorism.

"They've lost a lot of their own security forces to terrorism. They're fighting it very hard in their own country and of course they're playing a key role in Afghanistan," he said in a statement. "Pakistan will remain a very important security partner for us and for the international community."

British Prime Minister David Cameron had said he would stand by Islamabad despite questions of bin Laden's stay in Pakistan.

"Clearly bin Laden had a support system within Pakistan," he said in a statement. "We don't yet know what that support system included but what we do know is the leaders of that country, democratically elected, want to join with us in fighting terror in Pakistan and around the world."

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