Relationship with Pak complicated but important

Washington: Terming US` relationship with Pakistan "complicated but important", the White House has said it was "working very hard" on its ties with Islamabad which got a setback after a secretive American commando operation to kill al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

"It`s vital because, as we have said, that lopping the head off the snake is important, but the body, while battered and bruised because of the actions that have been taken over the years, is still there and we need to bury that body.

We need to keep the fight up against al Qaeda. And Pakistan is very important partner in that effort," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"It`s a complicated but important relationship," he said.

Yesterday, Pakistan called the US commando operation in Abbottabad that killed Laden an "unauthorised, unilateral action" without its knowledge.

Identifying Pakistan as a key partner in the fight against al Qaeda and terrorism, Carney said they have been extremely helpful and the US looks forward to cooperating into the future.

"We are working very hard on that relationship and it is an important and complicated relationship that has been tested in many ways over the years and even this year.

But we are in communication directly with the President and other senior members of the government and we are committed to continuing the cooperation that we`ve had because it is so important both to our fight against al Qaeda, but also Pakistan`s. And I think we remain confident that cooperation will continue," he said.

"We have been in contact at many levels with the Pakistan government. The (US) President called (Pakistan President Asif Ali) Zardari the night of the operation, before he spoke to the American people," he said.

"So while we recognize that there are complicated differences between our two countries and how we approach and view things at times, there has also been a great deal of important cooperation.

And that should not be lost. The American people should know that as they view this and try to view the complete picture of that relationship within the context of the successful mission on Sunday," he said.

Pakistan provided useful intelligence and cooperation over the years, and provided assistance that helped the US build the mountain of information that it needed to build in order to find bin Laden and execute this mission.