|Date: 27/05/2012 Time: 11:44:00 PM
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sunday
that jailing the doctor that helped that the US to locate Al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden was undermining efforts to improve relations between both
"It is so difficult to understand and so disturbing that they would
sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most
notorious terrorist in our times", said Panetta in an interview aired on ABC
"This doctor was not working against Pakistan. He was working against
Al-Qaeda and I hope that, ultimately, Pakistan understands that because what
they have done here, I think, does not help in the effort to try to
re-establish a relationship between the United States and Pakistan", he added.
A Pakistani court last week convicted Dr. Shakil Afridi of treason and
sentenced him to 33 years in prison after helping US intelligence gain access
to bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan ahead of the operation to
"What they did with this doctor does not help in the effort to try to do
that", noted Panetta.
"This has been one of the most complicated relationships that we have had
working with Pakistan. We have to continue to work at it. It is important.
This is a country that has nuclear weapons. This is a country that still is
critical in that region of the world. It is an up and down relationship", he
Asked whether the US would strike Iran's nuclear sites after the lack of
progress in the last round of negotiations between the P5+1 countries and
Iran, Panetta said that Washington is "prepared for any contingency in that
part of the world".
"But our hope is that these matters can be resolved diplomatically", he