US, Pak set up joint team to hunt down top militants | world | Hindustan Times
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US, Pak set up joint team to hunt down top militants

world Updated: Jun 02, 2011 15:44 IST

The US and Pakistan are building a joint intelligence team to go after top terrorist suspects inside Pakistan, US and Pakistani officials said, a fledgling step to restoring trust blown on both sides by the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces during a secret raid last month.

The move comes after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented the Pakistanis with the US list of most-wanted terrorism targets, US and Pakistani officials said on Wednesday.

The investigative team will be made up mainly of intelligence officers from both nations, according to two US and one Pakistani official.

It would draw in part on any intelligence emerging from the CIA's analysis of computer and written files gathered by the Navy SEALs who raided bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, as well as Pakistani intelligence gleaned from interrogations of those who frequented or lived near the bin Laden compound, the officials said.

The formation of the team marks a return to the counterterrorism cooperation that has led to major takedowns of al-Qaida militants, like the joint arrest of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed in 2003. All those interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.

The US and Pakistan have engaged in a diplomatic stare-down since the May 2 raid, with the Pakistanis outraged over the unilateral action as an affront to its sovereignty, and the Americans angry to find that bin Laden had been hiding for more than five years in a military town just 35 miles from the capital Islamabad.