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'Strong ties with Pak, to fight terror'

world Updated: Sep 05, 2008 09:43 IST

Two days after Pakistan lodged a strong protest over a US raid inside its territory, Washington has said the two countries maintain "strong" ties and would closely work to fight the Taliban and Al-Qaida elements.

"Our relationship with Pakistan is a strong one. It is an important ally in the war on terror. We will continue to work with Pakistan. It's not an easy situation," State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said.

"The Pak government takes the threat from the Taliban and al Qaida very seriously, as we do, and we're looking for ways that we can enhance our cooperation in defeating the extremist elements that are operating not only in Pakistan, but across the border in Afghanistan also," he said, but refused to talk about the raid.

A predawn attack by US coalition forces from Afghanistan on a frontier village inside Pakistan led to the killing of at least 20 people, including women and children.

"Things are not perfect in terms of our efforts to defeat the Taliban and al Qaida, but we continue to work hard and look for ways to, you know, improve our efforts. And that's ongoing," he said.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said, "We have a lot of cooperation with them and a lot of need to increase communication. And one of the things you saw just about three weeks ago was a meeting off the coast with Admiral Mullen and other generals, with their generals, so that we can work on jointly tackling the problems that we have in Pakistan," Perino said in her briefing.

The White House official was asked if the United States reserves the right to go into Pakistan unilaterally.

"I'm not going to make news about this. You know what the president's position has been. It's been very clear. I'll just refer you to his previous statement," Perino said without elaborating.