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Taliban's 'main leadership' based in Pakistan: Clinton

world Updated: Oct 16, 2009 11:46 IST
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Taliban's "main leadership" is based in Pakistan and sending militants across the border for attacks in Afghanistan where the Indian embassy and UN agencies were among those targeted, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

"The main leadership of the Taliban that is allied with al-Qaeda is in Pakistan. Now, they send people across the border. They help to fund the Taliban extremists who are, you know, more associated with al-Qaeda than indigenous" groups, Clinton told ABC News in an interview.

When pointed out that the Taliban inside Afghanistan have been at least hiding, Clinton replied "oh absolutely."

Taliban in Afghanistan are fighting because they get paid to fight, she said. "They have no other way of making a living. You've got a very poor population in general," Clinton said, adding they get paid more to be in the Taliban than they get paid to be as a local police officer.

Also, there are all kinds of internal conflicts in Afghanistan between certain tribal groups or ethnic groups who find it opportunistic to ally with the Taliban, she said. "They're very conservative. They share a lot of the same, you know, moral or social values. But they're not a direct threat to us."