US State Department: Statement on stealth helicopter remains and Pakistani bombing
QUESTION: Do you – does the U.S. has any intention to bring those pieces of helicopters back to the U.S. --
MR. TONER: Again –
QUESTION: -- or you are going to leave it behind?
MR. TONER: In terms of intention, you can ask the Department of Defense.
QUESTION: What was that?
MR. TONER: Again, I would refer you to the Department of Defense.
QUESTION: You don’t know if you want it back as the – you don’t know?
MR. TONER: Look, there was an action taken, we’ve – obviously that resulted in the death of bin Ladin. As a result of that action, this helicopter was crash-landed or however you want to phrase it, and it was destroyed by the team on the ground. That’s all been acknowledged on the public record, but I really don’t want to discuss it beyond that.
QUESTION: Mark, I have a question on Pakistan. How can you bring peace and comfort to Pakistanis who feel really humiliated by their own government, as far as this incident took place in their backyard, because they said that they were misled by then-ISI chief Kayani or General Musharraf. And now, a special TV report last night on Al Jazeera and CNN that even prime minister then, Nawaz Sharif, was involved with Usama bin Ladin and he was – financed his campaign, and also he used to meet with him regularly.
MR. TONER: Look, we’ve seen lots of rumors circulating about who may have known what about Usama bin Ladin’s whereabouts. We have raised our concerns with the Pakistani Government. Congress, of course, shares our concerns. And I think the Pakistani people also have concerns about this issue. So it’s – in a democratic government, a democratic political system, it’s incumbent on the government to try to answer those questions.
QUESTION: And finally one more, just quickly. Are you thinking of bringing or talking or any kind of talk with General Musharraf or General Kayani?
MR. TONER: I’m not aware of any.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. TONER: Yeah. Go ahead.
QUESTION: The Pakistani Taliban says that they did this attack because of the death of Usama bin Ladin. What are you doing to reassure the Pakistani Government that – to try to prevent more retaliatory attacks?
MR. TONER: Well, again, this was a heinous attack that killed 80 innocent individuals. Look, I mean, the Pakistani Taliban has shown that it will commit horrendous acts of violence for many different reasons. Who knows really what the reason was for today’s attack? We consider it heinous and we consider that it only highlights the existential threat that these kinds of extremist organizations pose for Pakistan, and underscore why it’s so important that we continue to work together both to – both on defeating and dismantling al-Qaida as well as its affiliates.
QUESTION: Well, wasn’t the main real consternation, to use your word, of the Pakistani Taliban – is the alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan? So aren’t you concerned now that these type of retaliatory attacks will emphasize to Pakistan the need to distance itself from the United States, not get closer?
MR. TONER: Look, there’s no way to avoid this issue – this threat, if you will, by hiding your head in the sand. This is an existential threat for Pakistan. They recognize it. No one has suffered more from these kinds of attacks – terrorist attacks than the Pakistani people. They recognize it. Look, they’re clearly trying to disrupt our bilateral relationship through this attack, but it’s also clear that they’re just – they’re going to carry out these kinds of attacks no matter what.