CIA's Petraeus says trusts Pakistan in fight vs al-Qaida

July 20, 2011 22:15


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PARIS - US General David Petraeus, Washington's new intelligence chief, said on Wednesday he trusted Pakistan as an ally in the fight against al-Qaida and gave a cautiously upbeat overview of the war in Afghanistan which he led for the past year.

Petraeus, who handed over command of foreign troops in Afghanistan on Monday, spoke in support of Pakistan's military leadership in the midst of heightened tensions between the United States and its at-times reluctant regional ally.

"I do believe they want to eliminate the al-Qaida presence and I do believe they want to eliminate the Taliban Pakistani presence," Petraeus said at a news conference in Paris, where he stopped on the way back to the United States from Afghanistan.

After many in Pakistan were infuriated by a secret US raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in May, US-Pakistan relations were further strained this week with the arrest in Virginia of a US citizen charged with illegally lobbying the United States for the Pakistani government.

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