January 31st, 2012
12:26 PM ET
A senior administration official is denying to CNN that President Obama made a mistake in publicly revealing what had been classified information about U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.
Asked whether it was a mistake or part of some larger strategy, the official said the president’s on the record admission on drones during a Google + video chat Monday, was “neither a slip up or a secret message to the Pakistanis”
The president on Monday said that "a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA, and going after al Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one we're already engaging in." (FATA being the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan where Al Qaeda and many Taliban are ensconced).
The official downplayed the significance of what happened, pointing out that what the president said was widely known. The president, the official said was making the point that the drone missions are “precise” and “targeted to avoid casualties.”
On continued tensions between the U.S. and Iran, the same senior administration official said “we want this to end diplomatically.” “Iran just needs to seize this opportunity” and agree to compromises as part of the international talks to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
January 31st, 2012
12:11 PM ET
Maybe it was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington and Pakistan, but U.S. officials rarely admit publicly to the active use of drones to hunt down Al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan. One reason is out of deference to the Pakistan, whose government relents to the drone flights even while publicly condemning it because the Pakistani populace is so against the strikes.
That being said, the president on Monday casually revealed to his Google+ hangout that "a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA, and going after al Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military actions than the one we're already engaging in." (FATA being the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan where Al Qaeda and many Taliban are ensconced).
To read the entire story, check out CNN's Security Clearance blog.
May 1st, 2011
11:28 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A senior U.S.official tells CNN that Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. in a mansion outside Islamabadalong with other family members.
January 27th, 2011
02:19 PM ET
President Obama meeting Thursday with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Situation Room of the White House. These monthly meetings are always closed press, but the White House usually releases a photo taken by one of their White House photographers.
January 14th, 2011
02:54 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) –President Obama met with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan on Friday and stressed the importance of the relationship between the two countries.
In a late morning meeting in the Oval Office, their discussion focused on both countries efforts to fight terrorism and promote regional stability, which included the work to promote a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan the White House said in a written statement.
Obama also told Zardari he is looking forward to visiting Paksitan later this year.
Zardari, who is also in Washington to attend a memorial service for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, met with Vice President Biden earlier this week when Biden made a visit to Pakistan.
January 12th, 2011
11:20 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President arrived in Pakistan this morning on a mission to make clear the American-Pakistani relationship is of vital importance to both countries.
In remarks alongside Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad, Biden said he wanted to clear up any “misconceptions” about U.S. intentions toward Pakistan, and to assure the United States is not waging a “war on Pakistan.” Biden said it was violent extremists who had “found refuge in some of the most remote parts of your country,” and who “violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and corrupt its good name.”
“Our goal is to work with your leaders and restore and strengthen sovereignty in those areas of your country where extremists have violated it,” he said.
December 14th, 2010
03:03 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
"The view is that our transition can begin - the conditions-based transition of our added forces - in July 2011," Gibbs said of the planned withdrawal of some of the additional forces ordered to Afghanistan a year ago by President Barack Obama.
Gibbs spoke to reporters after a nearly two-hour meeting involving Obama
October 26th, 2010
03:43 PM ET
Readout of President Obama’s Phone Call with Pakistani President Asif Zardari
President Obama called Pakistani President Asif Zardari to consult with him on the progress made during the recent U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, and to reinforce America’s commitment to partner with Pakistan on economic, development, and governance priorities.