US President Barack Obama has said he would order a similar operation to that which killed Osama Bin Laden if another militant leader was found in Pakistan.
Speaking to the BBC ahead of a European visit, Obama said the US was mindful of Pakistani sovereignty but said the US could not allow “active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action”.
The killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a Pakistani garrison town on May 2 has strained ties between the two allies.
Asked what he would do if one of al-Qaeda’s top leaders, or the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, was tracked down to a location in Pakistan or another sovereign territory, he said the US would take unilateral action if required.
“Our job is to secure the United States,” he told the BBC.
“We are very respectful of the sovereignty of Pakistan. But we cannot allow someone who is actively planning to kill our people or our allies’ people.
“We can’t allow those kind of active plans to come to fruition without us taking some action.”
On Afghanistan, Obama said that while the conflict could not be solved militarily, raising troop levels had put the Taliban “back on its heels” in a way that could facilitate the brokering of a political reconciliation.
“Ultimately it means talking to the Taliban,” he said, adding that the “Taliban would have to cut all ties to al-Qaeda, renounce violence and they would have to respect the Afghan constitution”.
He reiterated that the 1967 border between Israel and the Palestinian territories must be the basis for negotiations to set up a future Palestinian state.