Officials have confirmed that the U.S. and Pakistan will form a joint counterterrorism team, the Associated Press reports.
The team, which will be composed of intelligence officials from both countries, will focus on high-value terrorist targets. Before agreeing to form the team, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Pakistani officials a list of U.S. most-wanted terrorist targets, which included some targets Pakistan has previously been hesitant to go after.
The U.S. hopes top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omar and al-Qaida operations chief Atiya Abdel Rahman will be among the new counterterrorism force's top targets, officials say.
Pakistani officials say those targets are not specifically named in the agreement. But one U.S. official did confirm that the two countries have agreed to go after several militants to repair confidence between them.
The move comes one month after the U.S. acted unilaterally to kill Osama bin Laden in his compound located in a garrison city not far from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Part of the joint team's responsibility will be to act on information recovered from that building during the May 2nd raid. Information gathered by Pakistani officials in and around the Abbottabad compound following the raid will also be reviewed by the team.
The joint agreement raises hopes of successfully targeting the Haqqani network, an al-Qaida franchise closely linked to the Taliban. Siraj Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani tribe in Pakistan, is also on the list of the U.S.'s most wanted targets.
In a recent IPT interview, Reza Jan, leader of the Pakistan team at the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project and an expert on terrorism in that country, said that efforts against al-Qaida could be dampened if no action is taken against the Haqqani network. The two have a "symbiotic relationship," he said.
U.S.-Pakistan relations have been strained since the killing of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan, upset that the U.S. acted without first contacting Pakistani officials, was also embarrassed that the al-Qaida leader was able to find refuge in a city with a top military academy for several years.
Heightening tensions, a top witness who has admitted to helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks testified last week that members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) helped to train him and others. David Headley, an American from Pakistan, testified against Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, who is accused of helping conduct surveillance for targets for the attacks and helping facilitate Headley's trip to India.